July 20,2010

Press Contact:

Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields
(202) 224-4515

Floor Statement of Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) Urging Passage of Unemployment Insurance Extension

(as prepared for delivery)

Mr. President, this bill is about jobs.  And this bill is about compassion.

This bill would extend unemployment insurance for people who have lost their jobs.

This bill is about jobs because unemployment insurance goes to people who will spend it immediately.  That would increase economic demand.  And that would help support our fragile economic recovery.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that additional unemployment benefits would have one of the largest effects on economic output and employment per dollar spent of any policy.

Of the 11 policies that CBO analyzed, CBO ranked increasing aid to the unemployed first.  It’s number one.  CBO says that it will create the most jobs per dollar of budgetary cost.

And this vote is about compassion.

As of this week, more than 2.5 million out-of-work Americans have stopped receiving unemployment insurance benefits, because Congress has failed to enact this bill.

That’s more than 2.5 million people who are not getting a paycheck to pay the bills.  And that’s more than 2.5 million Americans who are not getting any help from unemployment insurance to tide them over. 

These 2.5 million Americans are trying to get work.  But there are still five people looking for work for every job opening.  They need help until they can find that job.

A woman from Helena, Montana, called my office and told us that unemployment benefits are keeping her family afloat.  She was laid off when she was eight months pregnant.  And she wants the Senate to know that she has worked since she was a teenager.  She wants to work.  And she will work again.

For these 2.5 million Americans, this bill is about the roof over their heads.  For these 2.5 million Americans, this bill is about keeping the electricity on.  For these 2.5 million Americans, this bill is about food on the table.

A Montana father with three small children was laid off after 18 years of service, because the company could no longer pay his wages.  He has no income.  But he continues to look for work.  His home is going into foreclosure.  Unemployment insurance has been his only income.  It’s what puts food on the table for his family.

This is America.  When there’s an emergency, we don’t leave people behind.

Let’s not leave the unemployed behind. 

We have stripped this measure down to the bare essentials.  We simply must pass this bill.  This afternoon, I urge my colleagues to vote for cloture and move this important bill.