Senate Democrats

Reid Stands Up For Nevada’s Working Families, Forces An End To Republican Obstructionism Of Unemployment Assistance

Washington, DCNevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement this evening regarding efforts to pass an extension of unemployment assistance for millions of out-of-work Americans:

“There has been a lot of attention over the last few days on the stalemate in the Senate. That attention is warranted. People deserve to know what their leaders are doing here – or, in this case, what some refuse to do – and how that affects their lives.

“So now that we’ve reached an agreement, let’s recap briefly what just happened here.

“Nearly a week ago, with unemployment and health benefits about to expire for tens of thousands of out-of-work Nevadans, Democrats tried to extend those benefits for a short time while a longer solution could be worked out. And we offered Republicans an up-or-down vote on their response to this emergency. They said no.

“After days and days of delay, Democrats just now offered Republicans the exact same up-or-down vote on their proposed response to this emergency. This time, they said yes.

“What happened in between? Hardworking Nevadans – people who want to work but can’t find a job – lost their lifelines, their economic security and their peace of mind.

“In between the time Republicans rejected a vote on their plan and the time they decided to take that offer,

· Thousands needlessly lost their benefits.

· Highway projects were put on hold and the thousands of men and women working on them were furloughed without pay.

· Lending to small businesses was frozen.

· And the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat our senior citizens was cut by a fifth.

“And for what? For no good reason.

“Republicans had an idea for how to pay for these benefits. We disagreed, but we wanted to give them a vote and let the majority of Senators decide democratically. That’s the way this body was built to work.

“But some were more interested in making a partisan point, or scoring political points, even if unemployed Americans were caught in the crossfire.

“If citizens want to know what’s clogging up Washington – if they want to know what’s standing between them and the help they need – they need to look no further than to the irresponsible stubbornness from the other side – and to the inexcusable silence of those who enabled it.”