Dems hope stories of unemployed spur action in House

House Democrats shared stories of unemployed constituents Wednesday afternoon to spur Speaker John A. Boehner to hold a vote to renew the benefits.

Six members spoke at the weekly “Witness Wednesday” event organized by the Center for Effective Government to tell the real stories of the 3.3 million Americans struggling without long-term unemployment benefits, which expired in December.

Rep. Judy Chu, California Democrat, told the story of a single mother of three who is preparing to sell her wedding ring, given to her by her late husband.

“It’s time to come together to build an economy that leaves no person behind,” she said.

The Senate passed an extension to benefits earlier this year, but it expired without the House even considering it. Sens. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, and Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, introduced another extension in the Senate, but a spokesman said Mr. Boehner will not hold a vote on the plan since it doesn’t include job creation measures.

Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, said it’s a “disgrace” that the GOP has refused to extend the benefit to hard-working Americans who are down on their luck.

“It’s downright cruel and it makes zero economic sense,” she said. “We need to end this Republican assault on the unemployed.”

Other participating members include Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra of California, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Rubén Hinojosa of Texas and Janice Schakowsky of Illinois.

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