Unemployed Americans Kicked Out of Capitol, Forced to Share Their Stories Outside

Six hard-working Americans joined House Democrats gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon to share stories of their struggle to find employment in a rough job market. The event, which was scheduled to take place inside the Capitol as a hearing, was abruptly cancelled by House Republican leadership. This forced the unemployed workers and dozens of supporters to relocate the event at the last moment.

They don't even want to hear the truth -- that's why they kicked us out of the Rayburn room in the People's House on Capitol Hill,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in her introductory remarks.

Despite the last-minute shake up, the event highlighted some amazing stories from a highly educated group of Americans with dozens of years of work experience and professional expertise. 

The speakers were among the almost 2.7 million Americans who have been cut off from Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits since late December 2013. The Senate has passed a bill that would retroactively pay out benefits, but House leadership has continued to block a vote on the issue.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has been adamant that the unemployment insurance bill not advance to the House Floor for a vote, despite requests from Democrats and seven courageous Republicans – including Reps. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Christopher Gibson (R-NY), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Joseph Heck (R-NV), and Jon Runyan (R-NJ) – who have signed a letter asking Boehner to immediately consider the Senate-passed bill. In addition, 193 House members – all Democrats – have signed a discharge petition to force a vote on H. Res. 490, legislation that would extend emergency unemployment benefits. An absolute majority – 218 votes for the petition - is required to force a vote.

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez entered the discussion on EUC benefits this week in a letter addressed directly to Boehner. In the letter, Perez said, “EUC is itself an effective job creation tool… failing to extend UI benefits puts a dent in job-seekers’ incomes, reduces demand and will cost an estimated 240,000 jobs in 2014.

In the Senate, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) is strategically considering tying the unemployment insurance extension to a recently approved $85 billion package of mostly corporate giveaways called “tax extenders” that will be debated next week. As Republicans are expected to support the passage of the tax extenders, tying together the two issues could reenergize debate on unemployment compensation.

The longer the battle for extending EUC benefits goes on, the more people will join the rolls of the unemployed and unassisted. Congressional leaders are clearly feeling pressure to take action, but it remains unclear whether Boehner can be convinced to allow a vote, even though many believe a bill to extend unemployment insurance would receive enough bipartisan support to pass.

View footage from the event and the voices of the unemployed below.

The Center for Effective Government continues to collect stories of the long-term unemployed and deliver them to representatives in Washington, DC. To share your story and view our featured “Stories from the Long-Term Unemployed,” please use the links below.

The following are resources to make sure politicians continue to hear your voice on emergency unemployment compensation (EUC):

  • Urge your representative to support the unemployment extension when the issue comes up in the House by entering your zip code here. You’ll be directed to a letter put together by the Half in Ten campaign.
  • Call your representative using this number, provided by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): 877-363-6141.
  • Share your story via our web form here, which we will share with representatives and journalists to highlight the urgency of renewing unemployment insurance.
  • Join our Google Group to share stories and resources with others who are either unemployed or passionate about the issue.
  • Stay in touch with the Center for Effective Government by signing up for our e-mail updates and action alerts here.
  • Find links to the Center for Effective Government's recent blog posts on unemployment insurance here.


For Further Reading:

Emergency Unemployment Benefits Bill Passes the Senate, Increasing Pressure on the HouseThe Fine Print blog, April 8, 2014

Stories of Americans Cut Off of Emergency Unemployment CompensationGovernment Matters, April 22, 2014

Emergency Unemployment Extension Expected to Take Back Seat to Tax ExtendersThe Fine Print blog, April 25, 2014

Technically Speaking: Making Sense of Discharge Petitions, Cloture and FilibustersThe Fine Print blog, May 5, 2014

Unemployed Americans Kicked Out of Capitol, Forced to Share Their Stories OutsideThe Fine Print, May 10, 2014

Six Months after Emergency Unemployment Benefits Expired, 2.8 Million Americans Left BehindThe Fine Print, May 20, 2014


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Welcome EUC family bloggers! Thank you Jessica for the new article on EUC!
Where the hell is everybody?
I find it very interesting that 1. Fox News has not picked up the story about the man who made threats against Boener's life. 2. Boehner has declined to make any comments on the incident. Could it be that if they acknowledge it, they also have to acknowledge that they have left 2 million American's and counting high and dry? Can't do that, I guess.
Anonymous (not verified) (5/10/14 8:40pm) For all we know, Boehner may have been angry with his wife for calling the cops on the guy because it made the news. And attached to the news was the EUC.
If you write it, they will come!
Good Evening TNT; the Feature Article for this blog page is "Telling" and yet quite "Troubling". House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's statement " They don't even want to hear the truth" is Indicative of the fact that the House Speaker (and most Republican Senators in the House of Representatives) and GOP Representatives "Find themselves on the Wrong-Side Of the Truth". Allowing that Capital Hill Hearing to convene Inside the Capital would have simply been "Truth - Too Close for GOP Comfort". The Timing of House Speaker Boehner Demanding a "Full-Scale Cover-Up Investigation Into the Benghazi Catastrophe" Is Undoubtedly Suspect!. The Speakers' motives for this Investigation is clearly NOT "Closure" for the families of those whom lives were lost in Benghazi. Why would nearly two years after the fact; the House Speaker becomes SO "OVERLY-ZEALOUS" for Transparency on this Specific American Tragedy? Exactly, Boehner is manipulating the Emotional-Impact (of the grieving families) and Ongoing Pleas for "Honest Answers" regarding that fateful Night in Benghazi. Why didn't the Secretary of State Immediate send in SEAL Team One or other Tactical Commando Units? Why did Condonesa Rice need scriptive "talking-points" to address the News Media. Who in the Chain-Of-Command was Immediately Notified?... Boehner does not have compassion for grieving families; his Crafty-Motive is to Immobilize the Obama Administration via this "Political Thorn-In-the-Side" AKA = Benghazi Cover-up!... "He's a Mean One; Mr. John GRINCH" he's a nasty selfish drunk; Like a Smirk upon an Orange-Peel & as Greedy as a Skunk!... Mr. GRIIINCH... And to think; he is Rich Enough to $ECURE the Ohio State Primary Victory$... What does it profit a man; to gain the Primary and Lose his soul?...
As reported by Politico and MSNBC, Boehner has at least 88 job bills he wants Obama to sign into legislation and won't even put the EUC for votes. All Obama asked in return to the R & D tax cut was to include the EUC bill because it has been offset by pension smoothing and the 159 billion tax cut bill has not. Republicans will likely disallow the EUC attachment. It will be very obvious if they allowed it that a mere 6.9 billion is for the unemployed and is paid for while their tax cut is 159 billion without any off set.
What does it matter now. I've lost everything.
Well if nothing else, the guy they arrested sure got the attention from the media and ppl will see or at least try to understand how we are all at our wits end!!!
These are horrifying times, really. You've got people who have jobs who aren't paying attention to us, and they're quite smug about it. These are the people Republicans are playing to, those who are doing okay. And they're enjoying the ugliness of it. Imagine that, your fellow Americans. What a nasty bunch.