A number of statements and videos were released today, which detail the unemployment benefits extension press conference held by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). This proposed bill, if passed, would extend unemployment benefits for 14 weeks to all unemployed, regardless of the state current maximum.

Rep. Barbara Lee released the following:


Bill Would Provide Emergency Lifeline to Millions of Long-Term Unemployed Workers and Bolster Our Nation’s Economic Recovery

Washington, D.C.- Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) joined Gregg Rosen of the American 99ers Union and Dr. Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) at a press conference earlier today to introduce The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act, legislation to extend emergency benefits to long-term unemployed workers.  The bill would provide 14 weeks of emergency unemployment benefits to people who have exhausted all their benefits and are still unemployed.  Many of these long-term unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits and need this assistance to support their families, make ends meet and contribute to our economy.  The speakers called on the Republican leadership to allow for a vote on this critical legislation to provide emergency relief to millions of working class people.

“Millions of workers across the nation, many of whom live in my district, are experiencing a true state of emergency.  Our bill would ensure these long-term unemployed workers get the long overdue assistance they need to support their families, make ends meet and contribute to our economy,” said Representative Barbara Lee.  “The Republican leadership has given a lot of lip service to creating jobs for our working class, but they have yet to even produce a plan.  Now they have a chance to support emergency relief to millions of working class people who can contribute to our economy as they fight to support their families.  I call on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to bring this to a vote on the House floor as soon as possible”

“The Great Recession has been devastating for so many American families,” said Representative Bobby Scott said. “Not only will this legislation help these hardworking Americans make ends meet, it will stimulate the economy. According to the Center for American Progress’s recent report on the impact of the recession, economists estimate that the U.S. economy grows by $1.61 for every dollar the government spends on unemployment compensation because unemployed persons usually spend all of their benefit payments quickly. Put simply, unemployment compensation is one of the most efficient and effective ways to stimulate the economy.”

“I represent 19 groups and tens of thousands of individuals from every corner of this great nation who have come together with a common goal: extending unemployment insurance for all Americans.  I applaud Representatives Lee and Scott and others for introducing this bill that will assist in curing the disease that is unemployment, The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act,” said Gregg Rosen of the American 99ers Union.  “Passing this bill will save American lives, assist in rebuilding the American Economy, and get Americans back to work.  This vital piece of legislation needs to be enacted into law without delay.”

“With December’s tax deal, we just committed to spending nearly $140 billion over the next few years on tax cuts for the richest 2%.  These tax cuts are unfortunately one of the least cost-effective forms of stimulus available, since wealthy people are much less likely to spend that money in the near term,” said Dr. Heidi Shierholz of EPI.  “We remain in a severe jobs crisis and extending unemployment insurance is a lifeline to the most deserving – to the families who have actually been the most hurt by this downturn.  And it is one of the most efficient things lawmakers can do to generate jobs.”

Gregg Rosen of the American 99ers Union provided me with some additional remarks about the press conference:

It did go well. Great strategy meetings with Rep.Lee and her staff after the press conference. For those that question what was said with respect to the funding of this bill, I thought I would provide you the following info:

The reason they want to try and push this though under the emergency spending provision first is that there are far fewer “political hoops” to jump through to turn a bill into a law if done that way. The CBO has yet to issue an official score for this bill but it should qualify for the emergency designation under pay-go spending rules for new legislation.

If they can’t fast-track the bill that way, they have a number of additional sources from which to fund the bill.

Below is the attachment I sent:

Good Morning, I’m Gregg Rosen the Co-Founder of the American 99ers Union. We represent 19 groups and tens of thousands of individuals from every corner of this great Nation who have come together with a common goal, extending unemployment insurance for all Americans. This shall in turn save American lives, assist in rebuilding the American Economy, and get Americans back to work.

But, these goals shall never be achieved when you have millions of Americans, most of whom have not had any form of income for ten months or more in an economy where the National Unemployment Rate has remained at 9% or above for 21 consecutive months.

Our Nation’s Economic System is built upon the basic laws of supply and demand. You cannot remove millions of Americans from the economic equation without seeing the devastating results that are reported day in and day out. One million homes lost to foreclosure in 2010, 147 banks shut their doors as a result of a weak economy and soured loans, defaults on student loans is growing by more than $2,800 dollars per second, and bankruptcy filings are at their highest point in half a decade. What is the cause you ask…simply put, the jobs have not returned to America.

We live in the greatest Country in the world and it’s time to bring the pride and confidence back to America as well all of its citizens. The only way to accomplish this is by putting money back into the hands of those who need it most, the longest term unemployed, those now known as the 99ers. Allow them to actively participate in the American Economy as consumer spending accounts for 70% of all economic activity. We talk about buying American, but we can’t buy American when Americans don’t have the money to go out and buy. The most effective investment we can make as a Country is to invest in its people.

I am surrounded by a cross section of the 99er Community; Male, female, young, old, black, white, college educated, working class, middle class, and upper class. All of whom lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

If we learned anything from the recession of 2007, it is that unemployment is a disease and an equal opportunity offender. No one is immune and it can strike any one of you at any time. And if we stand by and do nothing, I can assure you that one day you will be standing here with these once hard working Americans.

Today Representative Lee and Representative Scott stand before you with a key that will assist in curing the disease that is unemployment, Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act. This vital piece of legislation needs to be enacted into law without delay.

Some raise the question, if we invest in this extension what will the future costs be with respect to our children? I ask in return, if we cannot afford to keep a roof over our children’s heads today, they have no future. If we cannot afford to feed our children today, they have no future. If we cannot afford for medical attention for our children, they have no future. In short, the future is now!

I urge all Americans, and all of our elected officials in both the House and the Senate to join together and transform the aisle that so often divides Republicans and Democrats into a bridge that joins us all together. Join Representative Lee and Representative Scott and vote yes on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act.

Along with Gregg Rosen, 99ers Connie Kaplan, Rhonda Taylor and Monica Williams made statements. Other 99ers, including Yvonne Fitzner, also attended the event.

99er Advocate Sam Talbot took videos of the press conference. One video is attached to this article and you can view all videos at, http://www.youtube.com/user/samcalvin47.

Arthur Delaney of Huff Post asked Rep. Lee a difficult question that gets to the heart of the matter:

“Could you talk about the value of legislation like this and having events like this, even when there’s likely no republican support, no chance of getting an unpaid-for unemployment bill through the House?

Rep. Lee responed,

“Well, let me tell you, we’re not going to just sit around for the next two years and do nothing. This is very important to the millions of people who are unemployed and to 99ers, and I have a lot of hope. You have to understand the realities of what we’re dealing with here on the Hill, given the fact that Democrats are in the minority. But we have the president, the Senate, and I think many republicans who have 99ers, the chronically unemployed who live in their districts. And I think when they hear from the people this affects, I have to be hopeful there is some sense of morality there and republicans do have that.

Rep. Lee knows she needs republican support for this bill to stand a chance and hopefully she is correct that republicans will show some sense of morality.

You can read Arthur Delaney’s take on the press conference at: 99ers Go To Washington: ‘We’re Just Trying To Let Them See That We’re Real Live Human Beings’

Continuing with her answer, Rep. Lee said,

“Just because you are in the minority you can’t mount a struggle for what is right, and what is fair and what is just.”

Rep. Lee showed her fighting spirit in that remark and it will certainly be a difficult fight, but it’s certainly a fight worth fighting for the millions of long-term unemployed who have suffered the most during this jobless period. The corrupt and mismanaged banks and corporations were bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars, but the unemployed have been left ignored.

You can hear the remaining part of remark in the third YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/user/samcalvin47#p/a/u/0/Fc6jhp5FEOY.

To contact your representatives, 99er Bud Meyers offered the following option:

You may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and have them put you through to your senator’s office. When your senator’s aide answers, just leave a message for them.

I just called…it’s a working number. Sometimes trying to maneuver through their web sites and using a contact form (to just receive a standard FORM LETTER in return) is a waste of time – – – and a REAL person calling makes more of an impact when specifically addressing an issue – like the “99ers”.

Thanks for that information, Bud.

The Daily List

Congress.org has a great media contact list:http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/ as does http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=111

You can find your representatives contact information at: http://conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm, or at http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt.

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I’m looking for stories from people who have been rejected during the hiring process for being unemployed. Have you been the victim of a temp agency that won’t give you an interview because you are unemployed? Have you seen jobs ads for “employed only” or “unemployed need not apply”? Have you lost a chance at a job due to a poor credit score? Send your job rejection experiences to mike@layofflist.org.

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Huffington Post

Huffington Post is kind enough to give me a chance to post my work at their site. I hope to be able to spread the 99er word using their larger audience. You can see my efforts at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-thornton.

2 Comments to “Rep. Barbara Lee and Gregg Rosen of American 99ers Union discuss the 99er unemployment benefits bill”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Thornton, Unemployed Workers, Corinne Dickey, Red Dust, Brian Yeagle and others. Brian Yeagle said: RT @Layofflist: RT @tweetmeme Rep. Barbara Lee and Gregg Rosen of American 99ers Union discuss the 99er unemployme.. http://bit.ly/geMYbA […]

  2. Liz says:


    Visit the New Unemployed Friends – version2 for advocacy and support for the unemployed and underemployed.

    We need one, strong voice in Washington and the media! Help us spread the word about this hell we live in called “umemployed”!

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