Remarks U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush 1st Congressional District Of Illinois extension Of The Federal Unemployment Benefits Metcalf Federal Building Chicago, Illinois Monday, April 19, 2004 10:00 A.M.
Today, my Democratic colleagues and I stand here today to present a Congressional report that shows the harsh reality for those Chicagoans who have lost their jobs and continue to struggle to find work.
This report confirms what we already know: Unemployment in the Chicago metropolitan area ---- at 6.8% ---- is higher than both the statewide and the national average.
The reality is that this is a jobless "recovery" and unemployed workers in Chicago are NOT "recovering."
Unemployment in Chicago and in the State of Illinois is higher now than it was when Congress first extended unemployment benefits in March of 2002.
Extending unemployment benefits is the right thing to do. It is something that WE have to do. This will not only help 383,000 unemployed workers in Illinois, but the 288,000 unemployed workers in the Chicago metropolitan area, as well.
These workers need help while they look for jobs and the state of Illinois and Chicago economy needs help while these workers look for jobs.
Each week thousands of Chicago workers will lose their unemployment benefits and will be forced to use whatever limited resources they have to maintain their homes and families.
They will be FORCED to spend their savings, FORCED to choose food over healthcare, or FORCED to choose healthcare over paying the rent.
In February of this year, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to support a critical extension of unemployment benefits. Yet, Republicans defeated our efforts.
The time is NOW for the Republican leadership in the Congress and the White House to join with Democrats and pass an immediate extension of the unemployment benefits for workers without jobs!!
My colleagues and I are ready to do our part. We urge the President and the congressional leadership to do theirs. Chicago workers deserve no less.
This is a jobless "recovery. Extend unemployment benefits --- give workers in Chicago a chance to begin to "recover."
Now, let us listen to Mr. Ben Turner, a 52 -yr.old repair technician from my district who lost his benefits in March of this year talk about his experiences.