This was a vote on final passage of legislation extending unemployment insurance through December 5, 2010 for laid-off workers who had been jobless for more than six months.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) urged support for the bill and sharply criticized Republicans for opposing assistance for laid-off workers: “The opposition to this legislation has been disingenuous, cruel and out of touch. Many of the unemployed people in my district spent years working hard, paying their bills, and contributing to their communities. Through no fault of their own, they found themselves out of work….my Republican friends ought to take responsibility for their role in precipitating this economic disaster…The least they could do is vote with the Majority to minimize some of the pain they caused. For the sake of human decency for our fellow citizens, I encourage my colleagues to support the bill.”
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) also urged support for the bill: “Nearly 15 million Americans are out of work. Of these 15 million, 46 percent have been out of work for more than six months. In recent months, there have been at least five unemployed workers for every job opening. These are proud, working Americans who have already been victimized by the state of our nation's economy. Why are we victimizing them again by denying them this crucial lifeline?”
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) argued the bill was fiscally irresponsible because it was “not paid for” – meaning it would add to the federal budget deficit: “This latest unemployment insurance extender bill fails to do what the American people want us to do. Instead, the Democratic approach adds another $34 billion to the already staggering $13 trillion national debt. And that's not because we have a shortage of ineffective, inefficient, wasteful spending that we could cut to offset what's needed to pay for this. We want to do this, but we want to do what the American people want us to do--and that is to pay for it.”
Rep. Jeb Henslaring (R-TX) also urged opposition to the bill: “Ultimately, the people in America don't want more unemployment checks. They want more paychecks…. The debate is, are you going to pay for the unemployment insurance, or are you going to take the burden and put it on our children and grandchildren yet again? That is unconscionable, unsustainable, and it ought to be immoral.”
The House passed the unemployment insurance bill by a vote of 272-152. 241 Democrats and 31 Republicans voted “yea.” 142 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation extending unemployment insurance for laid-off workers who had been jobless for more than six months. Since the Senate had already passed the bill, the House’s action cleared legislation for President Obama’s signature.