Thank you for voting no on H. R. 6419, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act.
As you know, the most pressing problem with our national economy is the crushing debt we're loading onto the backs of our children and grandchildren, $13.7 trillion and counting. Our nation cannot afford to spend the additional $12.5 billion the CBO estimates this bill would have cost us over the next ten years.
The nation's unemployment statistics clearly show that deficit reduction is the right problem to solve, and now is the right time to solve it: as of October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 13.9 million out-of-work Americans. Of that number, 6.2 million have been out of work for over 27 weeks. 1.5 million have been out of work for more than 99 weeks, and have exhausted both state and Federal benefits. As the Republican candidate for Senate, Sharron Angle, said during the recent campaign, "We've put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry."
But thanks to your vote, these men and women won't have to worry about being spoiled. 800,000 men and women will lose unemployment benefits when the current program expires on November 30, and two million men, women and their families will lose emergency unemployment compensation in December.
Congress extended unemployment benefits during the economic crisis of the 70s. It did so again in the 80s, the early 90s and again after the recession that followed in the wake of September 11, 2001. Your unwavering commitment to fiscal discipline, when unemployment remains at 9.5%, sets the standard for all future Congresses to follow.
At the start of this holiday season, our nation's unemployed have much to give thanks for: bleak job prospects, depleted savings and the promise of increased poverty and homelessness.
For these, we thank you.
At a time when our economy remains mired in the aftereffects of the recession, and when economists tell us that one of the most effective ways we have of spurring growth is by extending unemployment benefits, we say thank you, for refusing to swerve from your principles.
And finally, when the nation debates extending tax cuts for the 2% of incomes over $250,000, at a cost of $700 billion added to our nation's debt, we thank you for saying no. No to letting these cuts expire. Because 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is too much, but 520 weeks of tax cuts for our nation's wealthiest is not enough.