(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after voting to end the Republican filibuster on extending unemployment insurance for people in Washington state who are struggling to find work in this tough economic climate. This vote comes just days after the Senate passedmajor Wall Street reform legislation that will help prevent economic crises that cost so many workers their jobs. Senator Murray had been working for weeks to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, but all efforts up until now had been blocked by Senate Republicans. The Republican filibuster was cut off today by a vote of 60 to 40, and a the bill is expected to pass the Senate tomorrow.
“I was proud to vote today to support the hundreds of thousands of people across Washington state who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who need some additional support to provide for their families while they struggle to find work.
“To me, this is about our priorities as a nation. I believe we ought to help struggling families by making sure they have the support they need to buy groceries, pay for school supplies, and stay on top of their mortgage payments while they look for work. This is not only good for these families—by giving them the resources they need to pay their bills it also provides a much needed economic boost to our local communities.
“Unfortunately, those who fought against this extension seem to have different priorities. They denied families support again and again by saying that unemployment insurance shouldn’t be considered emergency spending. But many of these opponents are the very ones pushing to extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans that are not paid for and add hundreds of billions of dollars to our national debt.
“So again, this is about priorities. If millions of Americans being out of work isn’t considered an emergency, then I don’t know what is. And if tax cuts for the very richest Americans rank above struggling families trying to make ends meet, then I think those priorities ought to be reexamined.
“So as we work to turn around our struggling economy, I am not going to stop fighting to make sure that Washington state families and communities get the support they need to get back on their feet. Thousands of jobs are at risk if we don’t deliver FMAP funding for Washington state. And small businesses are counting on us to deliver the tax credits they need to expand and create jobs.”