PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 42
(House of Representatives - March 13, 2014)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages H2411-H2417]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Pocan) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. POCAN. Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be here on behalf of the 
Progressive Caucus today for the Progressive Caucus Special Order hour. 
We want to talk about the need to extend unemployment benefits in this 
country.
  Since the end of December, millions of Americans have lost their 
extended unemployment benefits and are struggling just to get by in 
this economy.
  We have had two really positive developments this week. One, the 
House Democrats have an initiative, led by Representative Brad 
Schneider of Illinois, to do a discharge petition, which is a 
procedural motion to force the leadership of this body to let us vote 
on extending unemployment benefits, which it refuses to do.
  We have to get 218 signatures--a majority of the House--to sign the 
discharge petition. If that happens, we can force a vote and make sure 
that people who have lost their benefits since the end of December get 
their benefits.
  That is the first important thing that has happened.
  The second important thing is, today, just this afternoon, it was 
announced there is a bipartisan agreement in the Senate by several 
senators to make sure that we can extend benefits through the month of 
May of this year.
  We need to do everything possible not only to make sure that the 
Senate passes that, but to make sure that this House takes up that 
action. Because if we don't, millions of people--and many more every 
single week--will not get access to unemployment benefits.
  So the Progressive Caucus is here today to highlight this issue and 
to raise awareness and explain why it is so important that we pass 
these benefits--and we pass them now--on behalf of the millions of 
people in this country that need those.
  I am joined by several of my colleagues here today. I would like to 
make sure that they have a chance to talk about the unique situations 
in their area and why this is so important.
  I would first like to yield to my colleague from the great State of 
Oregon, Representative Suzanne Bonamici.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Thank you very much, Congressman Pocan. Thank you for 
leading this discussion. The discussion about extending the emergency 
unemployment compensation program is such an important topic.
  Last week, the country marked a troubling milestone. The number of 
Americans who lost their emergency unemployment insurance hit 2 
million. Thousands more will lose this lifeline every week if we do not 
extend this critical benefit.
  The impact of losing unemployment benefits is immediate and 
devastating to our constituents. I recently spoke to a constituent in 
Oregon who was laid off from a large employer in my district. His 
unemployment benefits ended early this year when the program was cut 
off. Since then, unfortunately, things have gone from bad to worse. He 
has been in his home for about 10 years, and now he is in default 
because he cannot pay his mortgage.
  I want to thank our colleague, Congressman Matt Cartwright, for 
leading the effort to provide my constituents and yours the opportunity 
to get a bit of relief. He is sponsoring the Stop Foreclosures Due to 
Congressional Dysfunction Act. That would put a 6-month moratorium on 
foreclosures of Federally-backed mortgages for individuals who have 
exhausted their unemployment benefits.
  I have to say this is the least that we can do for our constituents 
who are still suffering because this House refuses to allow an ``up-or-
down'' vote on extending unemployment compensation.
  My constituent is actively looking for work. He continues to look for 
work. But he keeps getting passed over for jobs. They are being filled 
by employers who seem to be looking for younger, maybe less expensive 
workers.
  He is one of many constituents across the country. What he and other 
constituents like him tell me is that it is particularly difficult for 
the more mature job seekers to find work, even though they have decades 
of productive experience.
  His efforts to find work haven't stopped. And I have to emphasize 
this: the unemployment benefits that he was getting weren't making him 
lazy. They were allowing him to survive. But instead of giving him the 
resources he needs to help lift him up and out of this situation, we 
are abandoning him and constituents across the country when they really 
need that lifeline.
  We need to extend this lifeline while we are tackling the problems of 
long-term unemployment in this country. The long-term unemployed need 
better access to job training; workforce development programs; 
resources; programs to engage employers and help connect the long-term 
unemployed, particularly older workers, with suitable employment.
  All Americans must realize that being among the long-term unemployed 
does not diminish one's abilities, value, or potential contribution to 
the workforce and the economy. I want to emphasize that point, because 
when I had a roundtable discussion in my district, there were several 
constituents there who were unemployed. They get down and concerned 
that they aren't worthy. We wanted to emphasize to them, You are 
worthy. Keep looking. You can find work.
  We should be extending this lifeline.
  My home State of Oregon has been a bright spot in the midst of the 
recovery. In January, Oregon recorded its lowest unemployment rate 
since 2008. There is a recent report that shows that Oregon added more 
than 43,000 jobs last year--that is great news--adding to the 
unemployment base by 2.6 percent.
  Unfortunately, the economic improvement provides little relief for 
the still about 30,000 long-term unemployed Oregonians who have lost 
these benefits over the last 2 months and are still struggling to 
reenter the workforce.
  They need these resources to have a car to get to job interviews, to 
have a cell phone.
  As the economy continues to recover, we must stimulate it, not stifle 
it. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program doesn't just help 
the millions of Americans who are struggling to get by every day, it 
provides an economic boost.
  When people get these benefits, they aren't saving this money. They 
put the benefits right back into the economy. While they look for work 
they use the unemployment benefits to pay their mortgages, to buy 
groceries, to keep the lights on.
  We shouldn't be arguing over extending this lifeline to millions of 
hardworking Americans. I was glad to hear the news that the Senate has 
a bipartisan proposal. I hope they pass that and get it over to us 
right away.
  Yesterday, I joined many other of our colleagues in signing the 
discharge petition calling for a vote to extend emergency unemployment. 
There is no better cause than helping the hardworking members of our 
country who desperately want to go back to work.
  Thank you again, Representative Pocan, for organizing this hour. I 
hope that we can draw the attention of the Nation, but especially of 
our colleagues, about the effects of ending the benefit.

  I urge our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and in 
leadership to reconsider this and put it up for a vote so we can help 
our constituents who are looking for work, trying to get back to work, 
and need that lifeline.
  Thank you again, Representative Pocan, for leading this important 
discussion
  Mr. POCAN. Thank you, Representative Bonamici. I am sorry to hear 
about your constituent losing housing.
  For the State of the Union in this very Chamber, I brought a 
constituent of mine who had lost their benefits. Rather than be 
foreclosed on, they put their home up for sale. They are still looking 
for work.
  It is a situation happening all too often. There is an article in 
today's Huffington Post talking about the

[[Page H2412]]

number of people who are being evicted because they can no longer pay 
their rent or mortgage simply because of the loss of benefits.
  Thank you for sharing that story, and thank you for your work on 
behalf of Oregon.
  I would also like to yield to my colleague from California, 
Representative Jared Huffman, who would like to talk a little bit about 
the problem of extending unemployment benefits.
  Representative Huffman.
  Mr. HUFFMAN. I want to thank the gentleman from Wisconsin for your 
leadership in organizing this hour of debate on such an important 
subject. I certainly want to lend my voice to the voices of my 
colleagues on this important matter.
  What we are asking for is very simple. We simply want an immediate 
``up-or-down'' vote on whether to extend these Federal long-term 
unemployment insurance benefits. We are asking that because I think in 
all of our districts we see that too many of our constituents are 
unnecessarily suffering from Congress' failure to act. We owe it to our 
neighbors and their families--people who lost their jobs through no 
fault of their own, people who want to work, who continually are 
searching for work--we owe it to them to provide the support they need 
to get back on their feet.
  In my own home State of California, we have got over 339,000 
Californians who have lost unemployment benefits. The number continues 
to grow the longer Congress waits, the longer we fail to act.
  California's currently got an unemployment rate of about 8.3 percent, 
but in many parts of my district--I include some rural areas--that rate 
is much higher. In fact, in Trinity County we have an unemployment rate 
that is over 11 percent.
  It is very important to remember that this is not an abstract issue. 
This is an immediate and deeply personal issue about real people and 
real struggles. Since the Federal benefits expired in December of last 
year, I have received thousands of emails and phone calls from my 
constituents asking for Congress to wake up and take action.
  One of them very recently is a great example. It is from Lisa in 
Eureka. She wrote to me:

       I have been on unemployment for just over 6 months now and 
     I am not able to make my mortgage payment. I am a worker, not 
     a lazy bum. I want to work, and I am still looking and 
     hopeful. But in the meantime, I can't live without a little 
     help from unemployment.

  That is very typical of the kind of feedback and pleas that I am 
hearing and that I know you, Mr. Pocan, and many of us are hearing from 
hardworking folks in our district every single day.
  So, again, I think it is important to emphasize this is not a 
handout. This is about offering a hand up to real people during a 
difficult time. Without the extension of this crucial lifeline, 181,000 
children in California--let's remember the impact on families and 
children--will be hurt.
  No one should be forced to make the unbearable choice between paying 
their rent and feeding their family simply because they lost their job 
due to no fault of their own. Extending these benefits should not 
remain a casualty to congressional gridlock.
  Just today, we got some great news. I think we are all encouraged 
that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are working together on a 
tentative agreement to extend unemployment insurance benefits for 5 
months--an agreement that, as I understand it, would provide 
retroactive payments to people like Lisa in my district.
  So, Mr. Speaker, let's help the economy. Let's help our constituents 
who are looking for work. This House should follow the Senate's lead 
and work together to find a solution.
  Again, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin.

                              {time}  1830

  Mr. POCAN. Thank you, Representative Huffman, for all the work on 
behalf of your constituents in northern California. I appreciate your 
words and sharing the story of your constituent.
  Again, 72,000 people every single week will lose benefits until this 
Congress acts, real people in California, Oregon, and real people in 
the State of Illinois.
  Next it is my privilege to yield time to the gentleman from Illinois 
(Mr. Schneider), the person who led the initiative on behalf of the 
House Democrats, led the initiative to discharge the bill so that we 
could force a vote in this House to ensure that everyone across the 
country and in the State of Illinois can get the benefits they need so 
they can continue to get by to find work.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Thank you again, Congressman Pocan, not just for your 
friendship, but tonight for organizing and bringing us here to have 
this conversation.
  For us in Illinois and Wisconsin, throughout the country it has been 
a harsh winter. Everyone has talked about the weather and the snow and 
the storms, but for some it has been a harsher winter than for others.
  In January, I hosted a roundtable on unemployment, long-term 
unemployment. At that roundtable I met a young mother, 29 years old, 
with two young children, and she told me how, at the end of the day, 
she comes home, she makes dinner for her kids, and they crawl into bed 
under the covers to eat dinner and watch TV because she had to make the 
choice between paying her rent and paying her heat.
  I met another woman who has been looking for work now for over a 
year. Her story was a little different. She was in an industry, travel 
agency, that is shrinking. She has two kids, high school age, who are 
looking forward to going to college, and she is now in the position of 
having to deplete the kids' college accounts so that they can simply 
make ends meet as she looks for work.
  This is the reality for 2 million people around the country, and the 
numbers, as you have pointed out, grow by 72,000 people every single 
week. In Illinois alone, there are more than 116,000 people who have 
lost their unemployment insurance and are struggling just to survive.
  Yet, in this Chamber, in this House of Representatives, we have not 
had a single vote to extend or address the unemployment insurance 
challenge. Partisan gridlock, partisanship and gridlock have already 
cost millions their emergency unemployment insurance, and the next year 
it is estimated that it will cost the U.S. economy 240,000 jobs.
  Failing to extend unemployment insurance is hurting families, it is 
hurting businesses, it is hurting our communities, and it is hurting 
our national economy. That is why yesterday I filed this discharge 
petition to end the gridlock and to bring to the floor a vote on 
extending unemployment insurance.
  Now, look, I understand some of my colleagues may disagree, and I 
respect their perspective and I respect their right to vote ``no,'' but 
not allowing a vote on the floor, not allowing us to voice our vote in 
this House of Representatives on unemployment insurance is simply 
unacceptable.
  I believe extending unemployment insurance is not just smart policy, 
it is the right thing to do. That is why I celebrate the passage, or 
the agreement in the Senate, bipartisan agreement, to extend 
unemployment insurance by 5 months. I look forward for that to come 
into this House, and I hope we will have a chance to vote to it.
  I know the path ahead is not going to be easy, but our constituents 
deserve better than partisan gridlock.
  Thank you for sharing your time, and thank you for organizing this 
evening. Thank you so much.
  Mr. POCAN. Thank you, Representative Schneider. Your efforts for this 
body, leading the House Democrats on that discharge position--we didn't 
know today the Senate was going to come up with something that may pass 
and may be able to get through this House. But your leadership made 
sure that those over 110,000 people in Illinois, and each and every 
week more people adding to that, can get those benefits.
  So thank you for your efforts. We hope that we can force this House 
to have us vote to extend unemployment benefits.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. I hope it happens soon. Thank you.
  Mr. POCAN. I would now like to yield to the gentlewoman from 
Massachusetts (Ms. Clark), one of the newest Members of the House.
  Ms. CLARK of Massachusetts. Thank you, Mr. Pocan, for your leadership 
on

[[Page H2413]]

this critical issue. I also want to thank the gentleman from Illinois 
for all he has done to try and bring this vote to the floor.
  A majority of Americans support renewing unemployment insurance, but 
the majority here in the House continue to show that they are out of 
step with American families by refusing to extend unemployment 
insurance for the 2 million Americans who need it, and the families of 
my home district in Massachusetts are left to suffer because of it.
  This out-of-touch majority has invested billions of dollars in tax 
breaks for the ultra-rich and for wealthy corporations that have often 
shipped our jobs overseas. Yet, they are refusing to help those who are 
looking for work, our job-seekers who are struggling to care for their 
families and put food on the table.
  I cringe when I hear some of the Members of the majority blame 
poverty on the poor, and then vote to give tax breaks for the wealthy. 
It is the same majority that looks to slash the budget and put that 
burden on the backs of our children and seniors.
  Some have said that Democrats want to give children a full stomach 
and an empty soul, but I would say, people who would deny a hungry 
child lunch, they are the ones who need to worry about the condition of 
their soul.
  In Massachusetts, more than $100 million has been taken out of our 
economy as Congress has failed to act on this issue. I signed the 
discharge petition to force a vote on unemployment insurance on behalf 
of the nearly 80,000 workers in Massachusetts who have lost their 
unemployment benefits. They cannot afford to wait for the majority to 
catch up with the rest of the country, who know this is the right thing 
to do.
  Again, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin for this opportunity, and 
I thank you for your work.
  Mr. POCAN. Thank you so much. You deserve a lot of credit for hitting 
the ground running in Congress. Thank you so much for representing the 
people of Massachusetts so very ably and defending the unemployment 
benefits that we need to extend.
  This is something that--the Progressive Caucus, earlier this week, 
released our budget, and our budget is the Better Off Budget, to make 
sure that people are better off, their families, they have access to 
opportunity for their families.
  That budget offered extending the benefits to the full 99 weeks. So 
the Progressive Caucus was there from the very beginning to make sure 
that we can get these benefits extended for every single American, the 
2 million Americans, including 40,000 people in the State of Wisconsin, 
that they can get these benefits.
  We are very proud that the Progressive Caucus looked at this as a 
priority, and that is why so many Members tonight were here to discuss 
it.

  It is interesting, I am going to read a couple of quotes from people 
that you wouldn't expect to hear coming out of the Progressive Caucus.
  One is a quote from someone back in 1983, someone that often gets 
quoted in this Chamber, but usually by people on the other side of the 
aisle, former President Ronald Reagan. His quote was: ``Unemployment 
insurance is a lifeline that extends to millions of Americans.'' A 
lifeline. That is Ronald Reagan saying that unemployment insurance is a 
lifeline to the Americans who need it. He got it, in 1983.
  Now, let me read another quote. In the year 2002, another person that 
people on this side of the aisle don't quote too often, former 
President George W. Bush, this is what he said: ``These Americans rely 
on their unemployment benefits. They need our assistance in these 
difficult times, and we cannot let them down.''
  We cannot let them down. That is from President George W. Bush. These 
are two Republican leaders who understood that unemployment 
compensation is not a political toy.
  It is not something about brinksmanship. It is the demand that we 
need to make sure that people who pay into the system, who have worked 
hard and played by the rules all their lives, have that lifeline when 
they need it because they have put in their dues. They have worked 
hard, and now, through no fault of their own, they are out of work and 
looking for work. We should be able to extend those benefits. So that 
is exactly what we are here to talk about tonight.
  Forty thousand people in my home State of Wisconsin, and more every 
week, are losing their benefits because this Congress has refused to 
act up to now.
  Now, they still can either act through the discharge petition the 
Democrats have put forth, they can sign the discharge petition to make 
sure we can get a vote in this body, or we can hope that the Senate 
does pass this bipartisan deal just from this afternoon, come to this 
House, and see that we do the right thing here and extend the benefits 
so that 72,000 people each and every week don't continue to lose their 
benefits.
  This costs the economy. It was mentioned earlier, but it has been 
estimated, just in January and February alone, we have cost the economy 
$3 billion by not extending these benefits, and that is more than $51 
million in my home State of Wisconsin, just during the months of 
January and February.
  Folks, we need to make sure these benefits are passed, not just for 
the families struggling, but for our economy that is also struggling. 
We are coming back, but we can't keep putting roadblocks in front of 
our economy, things like this, that stop unemployment benefits for all 
too many Americans.
  Now, it also is estimated that this will cost the economy 240,000 
jobs this year alone by not extending the benefits, 240,000 jobs.
  So here we are trying to bring the economy back, and by not doing the 
right thing, by not extending the unemployment benefits, we are going 
to cost 240,000 jobs in this country, on top of the people now who 
don't have benefits.
  Now, you heard some stories tonight from people who talked about 
constituents, telling their very real stories about what this means to 
them.
  Well, let me tell you about a constituent I had who came in this very 
body, and I quickly referenced it before: Brian Krueger of Mount Horeb, 
a hardworking person, a steamfitter.
  As we know, the construction industry, when the economy gets a cold, 
the construction industry gets pneumonia. That is just the way it 
happens. It dries up even more. So people aren't back to work yet in 
this industry.
  This is a hardworking person who was working as a steamfitter, trying 
to find work. His benefits were cut off at the end of December, and he 
is struggling to get by, looking for work each and every single day.
  He even put his home up for sale so that it wouldn't be foreclosed 
on, just as he is trying get by, someone who has played by the rules 
and worked hard each and every single day.
  Today there is an article in the Huffington Post, Mr. Speaker, and I 
am going to read a little bit from that. The headline was: ``Some 
Jobless Facing Eviction After Loss of Benefits.''
  These are the very real stories that you were just hearing a little 
bit earlier tonight. Let me tell some more of these stories, and I am 
going to read directly from The Huffington Post article:

       Craig Bruce, 45, told The Huffington Post that he and his 
     wife were evicted Tuesday from their apartment in California. 
     He said they're fighting the eviction in court, but they 
     spent Tuesday night in a motel room and bunked with family 
     Wednesday.
       ``I can't get a job. Either I'm over-qualified or somebody 
     else is closer and they don't have to pay them any moving 
     fees to take the job,'' he told the Huffington Post.
       Bruce, a gulf war veteran, lost his quality assurance 
     analyst job at an engineering company in the fall of 2012. He 
     said his unemployment's been hard on him and his wife, who is 
     still looking for work in quality assurance.
       ``There's been a lot of depression on my end,'' he said. 
     ``She's scared. She's terrified right now.''

  That is a real story of a real person who has worked hard and had a 
job for many years who, because of the economy, is out of work and 
can't get the benefits. And the result of this body not acting, the 
result has been he has been evicted from his home as of Tuesday.
  That is wrong. That is not America. That is not the way we should be 
acting.
  Now, I want to yield some time to the gentleman from New York (Mr. 
Jeffries), another colleague of mine, someone who has been a fighter 
for

[[Page H2414]]

working families throughout New York and across the country.
  Mr. JEFFRIES. I thank my good friend, the distinguished gentleman 
from the Badger State, for yielding some time, as well as for the 
leadership that you have continued to provide, week after week, in the 
context of this Congressional Progressive Caucus Special Order, and on 
behalf of the people that you represent, and indeed, people all across 
America, in bringing issues to the forefront that we, in this House of 
Representatives, should be dealing with in order to improve the quality 
of life of everyone who we represent.
  Now, unfortunately, I stand today on the House floor again, finding 
myself in a situation where the only obstacle to progress is the House 
GOP majority. Once again, we are placed in a situation where the 
American people could stand to benefit from congressional action, but, 
because of obstinacy and obstruction on the other side, you have got 
close to 2 million long-term unemployed Americans who find themselves 
in a distressed financial situation.
  Now, earlier today we were informed that a bipartisan agreement was 
reached in the Senate and, hopefully, that means we will see progress 
in that Chamber at some point this month, which means that we have a 
real opportunity here in the House of Representatives to act in a 
manner that would benefit long-term unemployed Americans.
  Why should we do that?
  Well, because there are many individuals all across this country, in 
the district that I represent in Brooklyn and in Queens, but all across 
America, who find themselves unemployed, not because of their lack of 
interest, not because of lack of effort, not because of an 
unwillingness to work, but because of structural changes that have 
occurred in our economy, particularly in the aftermath of the Great 
Recession of 2008.

                              {time}  1845

  We know that when the economy collapsed in 2008, that didn't have 
anything to do with folks on Main Street America. That didn't have 
anything to do with folks in urban America, in the district that I 
represent. That didn't have anything to do with folks in rural America 
who are struggling.
  It was because of the behavior of some reckless institutions on Wall 
Street and connected to the financial services industry whose actions 
collapsed the world's economy, and Americans have suffered as a result, 
so those consequences are still being felt.
  We are no longer technically in a recession. This is one of the 
arguments that our good friends on the other side of the aisle point 
out. So what is the emergency? The emergency is you still have an 
unacceptably high unemployment rate, and a disproportionately high 
number of those individuals happen to be long-term unemployed.
  Now, the argument that is often advanced by our good friends on the 
other side of the aisle, as they attempt to justify the obstruction 
that has taken place in blocking unemployment insurance from being 
extended, is that we are enabling these individuals--enabling these 
individuals. What kind of myth is that? There is no evidence to support 
that argument.
  First of all, it is important to note that, in order to qualify for 
unemployment insurance, as the distinguished gentleman from Wisconsin 
knows, you have to demonstrate conclusively that you are actively 
engaged in an employment search. Otherwise, you are ineligible.
  There is this caricature that has been created, as if these are these 
individuals who are sitting at home like couch potatoes, channel 
surfing, whose only exercise is when they run outside of the house in 
order to pick up the unemployment insurance check from the mailbox, and 
then run back in and continue to channel surf.
  Can't we have an evidence-based discussion, Mr. Speaker, as opposed 
to fictional caricatures created to justify your harshness and refusal 
to move forward and provide assistance to these unemployed Americans? 
We know it is a fictional caricature that you have created to justify 
your indifference because the facts suggest otherwise.
  We know that, for every 258 Americans who are searching for 
employment, only 100 jobs exist. I am no mathematician, but it suggests 
to me that, given the nature of the economy, it is impossible for every 
one of those individuals who would otherwise be eligible for 
unemployment insurance to secure employment because of structural 
realities in the economy.
  That doesn't even account for the fact that, often, there will be a 
skills mismatch as our economy continues to change, a shift away from 
manufacturing jobs and a shift into technology and innovation. That is 
a good thing, but there is a skills mismatch that has to be dealt with.
  So the choice that we have been given is to deem these individuals 
and brand them as lazy Americans when the facts are to the contrary? 
Why? Why would we leave these unemployed Americans on the recessionary 
battlefield?
  We know that there has been a very schizophrenic recovery. Corporate 
profits are way up. Unemployment is still up, but the stock market is 
up, and CEO compensation is up; yet middle class families and those who 
aspire to be part of the middle class are increasingly struggling in 
America.
  Whenever I am back home in Brooklyn, I am often approached by 
individuals who are in fear that they could lose their home, given the 
reality that they have been harshly and callously cut off by the 
obstruction of the House GOP majority.
  I am just hopeful that for the good of America--because there are 
unemployed in blue States, and there are unemployed in red States; 
there are unemployed individuals in urban America, in suburban America, 
in rural America, all across this great country. Can't we find the 
compassion and the will to address this issue?
  As I prepare to take my seat and yield back to the distinguished 
gentleman, I would also point out that what has occurred here is 
another example of us here in this Congress doing things affirmatively 
to prevent jobs from being created.
  We allowed sequestration to take effect on April 1 of last year, 
notwithstanding the fact that independent economists suggested that we 
would lose 750,000 jobs in America if we allowed it to occur; yet the 
majority steadfastly stood behind sequestration. Then in October of 
2013, we had a reckless, unreasonable, unnecessary government shutdown.
  It cost the economy $24 billion, according to Standard and Poor's, in 
lost economic productivity. Well, you complain that Americans are 
supposedly sitting at home channel surfing, staying on the couch, not 
looking for work while you affirmatively damage the economy.
  Now, as a result of your failure to deal with the unemployment 
insurance issue, if this were to continue throughout this year, you 
will cost us another 200,000 jobs.
  I will just say that for a wide variety of reasons--because it is in 
the best interests of the American economy, the best interests of the 
people that we represent, and that it represents the best values of 
America--that we allow a vote to take place on the floor of the House 
of Representatives because I am confident, Mr. Speaker, that if you do, 
the votes exist to pass this into law, and we can put this sad chapter 
in the 113th Congress behind us.
  I thank the distinguished gentleman again for his continued 
leadership.
  Mr. POCAN. Thank you so much, Representative Jeffries, for your 
always eloquent fight on behalf of the working people across the State 
of New York and the need for the benefits.
  I am glad you debunked some of the myths that are out there because I 
remember, during the debate we had on food stamps, there was discussion 
of a surfer dude from California who talked about gaming the system.
  We were basically cutting $39 billion from food stamps because there 
was a surfer who abused the system from the State of California. Rather 
than governing by analysis, they govern by anecdote, and it is 
something that we need to get done and this body needs to get done.
  Let me just share one final story, if I can, of someone from the 
State of California, again, from The Huffington Post article. This is 
Ricki Ward of Rancho Cucamonga, California, and I will read from the 
article.

       Ward, who told The Huff Post Tuesday that she expects to be 
     evicted next month, said she has worked all her life from 
     paycheck to paycheck and raised two kids as a single

[[Page H2415]]

     mother. For the past 5 years, Ward worked in offices, retail 
     stores, and fast food before being laid off from a customer 
     service job for a cable provider in March 2013.
       Ward said she suspects she is having difficulty finding 
     work because of her age.
       ``I took the year that I graduated from high school off of 
     my resume, and I started getting calls,'' Ward said. ``Yet 
     once they saw me, I wasn't what they wanted for their front 
     counter. I'm 59 years old, but I'm a very young 59 years old. 
     I keep myself in good shape. I'm nowhere near ready to stop 
     working.''
       She said her landlord has been fair with her and that she 
     has received some help from family and friends, but she keeps 
     falling further behind.
       ``It's so humiliating to have to have everybody else try to 
     take care of you,'' Ward said. ``It's just not what I'm used 
     to. I've worked all my life.''

  These are the stories that we have talked about during this past hour 
from people across the country who, again, have played by the rules, 
worked hard and, because of a turn in the economy a few years ago, have 
lost work.
  The commitment that we have to those people is that if they are 
working hard. We need to do everything we can to make sure that they 
have the help that they have paid into: unemployment benefits. We need 
to, in a time like this, pass those emergency benefits.
  I would like to yield my final time to a Representative from Ohio who 
has done an absolutely amazing job for a number of years representing 
her constituents and is a great University of Wisconsin alumni.
  I have to say that, being from Wisconsin, but she is a great 
colleague, Representative Marcy Kaptur from the great State of Ohio.
  Ms. KAPTUR. I want to thank Congressman Pocan for just a phenomenal 
presentation this evening and for lifting up those across our country 
who worked hard for a living and have fallen on hard times.
  Trying to hold their families together, they go try to get a job, and 
1,000 people show up for one job. What are they supposed to do? They 
have lost footing. They haven't been able to make their mortgage 
payments. They can't send their kids to college. Many of them get sick. 
They lose their health benefits. It is not so easy getting a job in 
today's America.
  You have been such a leader not just on unemployment benefit 
extensions, but also on job creation. Since we are commemorating the 
second anniversary of the passage of the U.S.-Korean so-called ``free-
trade agreement,'' I thought I would bring a startling chart to the 
floor to show why we have unemployment in this country.
  One of the aspects of the U.S.-Korean so-called ``free-trade 
agreement,'' passed 2 years ago without my support, was that we were 
supposed to increase exports and decrease imports.
  It was supposed to actually be good for America. We were supposed to 
create more jobs here at home when, in fact, we have actually lost 
40,000 jobs when they told us we were going to gain 70,000 jobs as a 
result of that agreement. Those people who were supposed to have those 
jobs fell on unemployment benefits, large numbers of them.
  Here is a chart that shows what has happened. This gives you a sense 
of how big the difference is.
  All right. The idea is we are supposed to export cars from here to 
Korea. Well, guess what, folks? This is how much we export; and this is 
how much they export to us, so we have fallen so deeply in the red.
  What happens is, with every $1 billion of trade deficit, you get 
another 4,000 people out of work. Factories shut down. Suppliers shut 
down. The math is very simple. You just need to understand it.
  Now, you know, if you look at the individuals who stand in those 
unemployment lines, they were told that we were supposed to sell 
thousands and thousands of vehicles to Korea.
  Well, I will tell you what: we have sold 3,400 more vehicles in that 
country--3,400.
  Guess how much--since the trade agreement was signed with Korea, how 
many more they have sold to us. 125,000. 125,000.
  Now, according to my math, they have sold to us 121,600 more cars 
than we have sold them. That means unemployment in Wisconsin. It means 
unemployment in Ohio. It means unemployment across this country. It 
means unemployment in the steel industry, unemployment in the machine 
tool industry. You can tick it off.
  Now, they tell us agriculture was supposed to save us. Right? We have 
positive trade accounts in agriculture, and we are supposed to increase 
our exports to Korea. Guess what has happened. They are off by 41 
percent--not just 4 percent, but 41 percent.
  Our exports of poultry have fallen since this agreement was signed by 
39 percent. Pork exports are down 34 percent. Beef exports are down to 
Korea 6 percent. U.S. meat producers have lost a combined total of $442 
million in poultry, beef, and pork exports to Korea in the first 22 
months of the agreement. That means more than $20 million lost every 
month.
  So, Congressman Pocan, I am sure you have seen the impacts of this in 
Wisconsin. We have certainly seen it in Ohio, and we see these big 
trainloads coming through on rail of all these cars that they bring in 
here from the west coast that come from points over the Pacific or the 
Atlantic coming in to our country.
  If you go to those countries and you look around on the streets, they 
not only don't buy U.S. cars; they don't buy cars from anyplace else 
but themselves.

                              {time}  1900

  So part of what we are doing with unemployment benefits is we are 
trying to make up for failures in our trade policy that have turned 
people away, away from the world of work and trying to struggle to make 
ends meet.
  I will insert into the Record tonight a special report done by Public 
Citizen regarding the impacts of the U.S.-Korean so-called free trade 
agreement, and if this is the same template that the administration 
intends to use for bringing trade promotion authority in the Trans-
Pacific Partnership Agreement up here, don't even start. Don't even 
start, because we have to reduce this and increase this, and until an 
agreement does that, we are not going to create more jobs in this 
country.
  I will show you something. This is the big hole we are digging out 
of. We hear a lot about the budget deficit. Well, why do we have a 
budget deficit? We have a budget deficit because we have a trade 
deficit. We have had it now for one-quarter century, and every time we 
get into another one of those trade deals that are lopsided, what 
happens? We go deeper, deeper, and deeper into trade deficit. More and 
more companies close down; more and more people lose their work; and 
then we have to subsidize the differential between imports and exports 
through unemployment benefits.
  We are trying to keep the hold, but we are not addressing this 
problem. This is after China PNTR. They told us: Oh, that will be so 
great; we are going to sell all this stuff to China. We fell deeper 
into deficit.
  CAFTA--then they told us: Oh, Latin America, that will make it 
better. This is after Korea. It went down again.
  What are we doing to America? We are ceding away our sovereignty in 
industry after industry. They have always said that electronics are 
going to save us. Those big, bad auto States? We are going to do 
better. Well, guess what? We have now fallen into deficit in advanced 
electronics. We are not even succeeding in exporting those. The people 
of this country have to pay attention because the heart and soul is 
being chipped away piece by piece. Try to find something made in this 
country--coats? shoes? cars? Some.
  What we have is state economies like China competing against merchant 
economies like our own. And the auto industry got in such shape that it 
took the Government of the United States to prop it up and save it. We 
were faced with: Will the United States have an automobile industry or 
not? That is going to happen in other sectors. That is going to happen 
in steel, and that is going to happen in shoes. They didn't even fight. 
But if you look at every sector, unemployment, unemployment, 
unemployment--appliances, unemployment.
  You can see it by census statistics. No matter what community you go 
to, we have had these lost jobs; and you look over 10 years, 2000 to 
2010, poverty quadruples. Don't tell me those people don't want to 
work. They had jobs. The jobs disappeared.

[[Page H2416]]

  You can go to these sweatshop countries and you can go find the 
production. Guess what? You can find TRICO now in Mexico. They used to 
make windshield wipers in Buffalo, New York. It was a major employer. 
The man who founded the company had a decent soul. He had a huge 
foundation that helped that community. It still does to this day. But 
all those jobs have moved down south of the border. No decent wage, no 
benefits, nothing. No corporate conscience at all.
  That is happening from one end of this country to the other. America 
has a rude awakening ahead of her. It goes through Democratic and 
Republican administrations, and the American people know it. They know 
that it doesn't change here. Unemployment benefits are the least we can 
do for the American people--the people who went to work, they believed 
in making a good product, and now they have fallen onto hard times. 
Don't tell me it is all their fault.
  I have done job fairs in my district. Thousands of people show up. 
There aren't enough jobs for everyone that wants to work. I would 
invite any President, any former President.
  I would like to invite George Bush II to travel with me, because he 
came to my district. I would like to take him and show him where in 
Mexico these jobs have gone. Come with me to Guangdong province in 
China. I will show you where our jobs have gone. I will take you to 
Honduras. Then, do you know what? I am going to make everybody who 
comes with me work like those women work, and then you tell me why we 
face an unemployment benefit crisis in this country and what kind of a 
society we have here.
  Those are earned benefits. Those belong to the people who have 
devoted their lives to going to work, earning a living, and trying to 
get ahead in an honorable way and in an honest way, and they deserve 
them.
  So I want to thank you, Congressman Pocan, for giving me time this 
evening.
  Mr. Speaker, I place this article from Public Citizen in the Record 
that summarizes everything that has gone haywire with the U.S.-Korean 
so-called free trade agreement.

On Second Anniversary of U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, U.S. Exports 
Down 11 Percent, Imports From Korea Up and Deficit With Korea Balloons 
  47 Percent--Fueling Congressional Skepticism About Obama TPP Export 
                                Promises


 Export Decline Hits U.S. Farmers and Auto Workers Particularly Hard, 
Dismal Outcomes of Pact-Used as TPP Template Will Bolster Opposition to 
                   Obama Bid for Fast Track Authority

       Washington, DC.--Two years after the implementation of the 
     U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), government data reveal 
     that the Obama administration's promises that the pact would 
     expand U.S. exports and create U.S. jobs are exactly opposite 
     of the actual outcomes: a downfall in U.S. exports to Korea, 
     rising imports and a surge in the U.S. trade deficit with 
     Korea. Using the administration's export-to-job ratio, the 
     estimated drop in net U.S. exports to Korea in the FTA's 
     first two years represents the loss of more than 46,600 U.S. 
     jobs.
       The damaging Korea FTA record, detailed in a new Public 
     Citizen report, undermines the administration's attempt to 
     use the same failed export growth promises to sell an already 
     skeptical Congress on Fast Track authority for the Trans-
     Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping deal for which the 
     Korea FTA was the template.
       Contrary to the administration's promise that the Korea FTA 
     would mean ``more exports, more jobs'':
       U.S. goods exports to Korea have fallen below the pre-FTA 
     average monthly level for 21 out of 22 months since the deal 
     took effect.
       The United States has lost an average of $385 million each 
     month in exports to Korea, given an 11 percent decline in the 
     average monthly export level in comparison to the year before 
     the deal.
       The United States lost an estimated, cumulative $9.2 
     billion in exports to Korea under the FTA's first two years, 
     compared with the exports that would have been achieved at 
     the pre-FTA level.
       Average monthly exports of U.S. agricultural products to 
     Korea have fallen 41 percent.
       The average monthly U.S. automotive trade deficit with 
     Korea has grown 19 percent.
       The U.S. exports downfall is particularly concerning given 
     that Korea's overall imports from all countries increased by 
     2 percent over the past two years (from 2011 to 2013).
       The average monthly trade deficit with Korea has ballooned 
     47 percent in comparison to the year before the deal. As U.S. 
     exports to Korea have declined under the FTA, average monthly 
     imports from Korea have risen four percent. The total U.S. 
     trade deficit with Korea under the FTA's just-completed 
     second year is projected to be $8.6 billion higher than in 
     the year before the deal, assuming that trends during the 
     FTA's first 22 months continue for the remaining two months 
     for which data is not yet available.
       Meanwhile, U.S. services exports to Korea have slowed under 
     the FTA. While U.S. services exports to Korea increased at an 
     average quarterly rate of 3.0 percent in the year before the 
     FTA took effect, the average quarterly growth rate has fallen 
     to 2.3 percent since the deal's enactment--a 24 percent drop.
       ``Most Americans won't be surprised that another NAFTA-
     style deal is causing damage, but it's stunning that the 
     administration thinks the public and Congress won't notice if 
     it recycles the promises used to sell the Korea pact--now 
     proven empty--to push a Trans-Pacific deal that is literally 
     based on the Korea FTA text,'' said Lori Wallach, director of 
     Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. ``The new evidence of 
     the Korea FTA's damaging record is certain to make it even 
     more difficult for the Obama administration to get Congress 
     to delegate its constitutional trade authority via Fast Track 
     for the TPP.''
       The decline in U.S. exports under the Korea FTA contributed 
     to an overall zero percent growth in U.S. exports in 2013, 
     rendering virtually impossible Obama's stated goal to double 
     exports by the end of 2014. At the export growth rate seen 
     over the past two years, the export-doubling goal would not 
     be reached until 2054. While the Korea pact is the only U.S. 
     FTA that has led to an actual decline in U.S exports, the 
     overall growth of U.S. exports to nations that are not FTA 
     partners has exceeded combined U.S. export growth to U.S. FTA 
     partners by 30 percent over the past decade.
       ``The data simply do not support the Obama administration's 
     tired pitch that more FTAs will bring more exports,'' said 
     Wallach. ``Faced with falling exports and rising, job-
     displacing deficits under existing FTAs, the administration 
     needs to find a new model, not to repackage an old one that 
     patently failed.''
       The Korea FTA has produced very few winners; since the FTA 
     took effect, U.S. average monthly exports to Korea have 
     fallen in 11 of the 15 sectors that export the most to Korea, 
     relative to the year before the FTA. And while losing sectors 
     have faced relatively steep export declines (e.g. a 12 
     percent drop in computer and electronics exports, a 30 
     percent drop in mineral and ore exports), none of the winning 
     sectors has experienced an average monthly export increase of 
     greater than two percent. Ironically, many sectors that the 
     administration promised would be the biggest beneficiaries of 
     the Korea FTA have been some of the deal's largest losers.
       AGRICULTURE: While the administration argued for passage of 
     the FTA in 2011 by claiming, ``The U.S.-Korea trade agreement 
     creates new opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food 
     processors seeking to export to Korea's 49 million 
     consumers,'' average monthly exports of U.S. agricultural 
     products to Korea have fallen 41 percent under the FTA.
       U.S. average monthly poultry exports to Korea have fallen 
     39 percent.
       U.S. average monthly pork exports to Korea have fallen 34 
     percent.
       U.S. average monthly beef exports to Korea have fallen 6 
     percent.
       Compared with the exports that would have been achieved at 
     the pre-FTA average monthly level, U.S. meat producers have 
     lost a combined $442 million in poultry, pork and beef 
     exports to Korea in the first 22 months of the Korea deal--a 
     loss of more than $20 million in meat exports every month.
       AUTOS AND AUTO PARTS: The administration also promised the 
     Korea FTA would bring ``more job-creating export 
     opportunities in a more open and fair Korean market for 
     America's auto companies and auto workers,'' while a special 
     safeguard would ``ensure . . . that the American industry 
     does not suffer from harmful surges in Korean auto imports 
     due to this agreement.'' The U.S. average monthly automotive 
     exports to Korea under the FTA have been $12 million higher 
     than the pre-FTA monthly average, but the average monthly 
     automotive imports from Korea have soared by $263 million 
     under the deal--a 19 percent increase. So while U.S. auto 
     exports have risen very modestly under the FTA, those tiny 
     gains have been swamped by a surge in auto imports from Korea 
     that the administration promised would not occur under the 
     FTA.
       In January 2014, monthly auto imports from Korea topped $2 
     billion for the first time on record.
       About 125,000 more Korean-produced Hyundais and Kias were 
     imported and sold in the United States in 2013 (after the 
     FTA) than in 2011 (before the FTA).
       Sales of U.S.-produced Fords, Chryslers and Cadillacs in 
     Korea increased by just 3,400 vehicles.
       The post-FTA flood of automotive imports has provoked a 19 
     percent increase in the average monthly U.S. auto trade 
     deficit with Korea. The Obama administration has sought to 
     distract from this dismal result by touting the percentage 
     increase in U.S. auto sales to Korea. This allows the sale of 
     a small number of cars beyond the small pre-FTA base of sales 
     to appear to be a significant gain when in fact it is not.

  Mr. POCAN. Thank you so much, Representative Kaptur, again for your 
history of support not only for working families across Ohio. I know we 
are

[[Page H2417]]

going to talk more about trade in this body. Thank you for sharing that 
information.
  With that, I am going to close the Special Order hour for the 
Progressive Caucus. It is imperative that this body pass the extension 
of the emergency unemployment benefits. The House Democrats have filed 
a discharge petition. We will do everything we can to force a vote off 
that; but we are hoping that the Senate, now that they have a 
bipartisan agreement, can get that passed as well.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time on behalf of the 
Progressive Caucus.

                          ____________________