ENTIRE VIDEO- Pres. Obama on extending unemployment benefits: "Hope is contagious."


obama speaks on extending unemployment benefits

Via UpTakeVideo:

President Obama says Americans who need an emergency extension of unemployment benefits are "not lazy" as some might want you to believe. He points to the case of Katherine Hackett who introduced him. As an unemployed mom of two military sons she keeps the heat down just to make ends meet as she looks for a job. Without unemployment benefits, it makes it harder for her to find a job.

I wish the video had included Katherine Hackett, who introduced the president, because she was so effective, exactly who Americans, especially Republicans, needed to hear from. One memorable quote was, "'I am not just sitting at home living the good life." Got that, GOP?

The full transcript can be found at WaPo. Here are some excerpts:

For the Americans who join me at the White House today and millions like them who were laid off in the recession through no fault of their own, unemployment insurance has been a vital economic lifeline.

For a lot of people it's the only source of income they've got to support their families while they look for a new job. These aren't folks who are just sitting back, waiting for things to happen. They're out there actively looking for work. They desperately want work. But although the economy has been growing, and we've been adding new jobs, the truth of the matter is, is that the financial crisis was so devastating that there's still a lot of people who are struggling, and in fact if we don't provide unemployment insurance, it makes it harder for them to find a job...

Katherine went on to say, I've applied to everything for which I'm possibly qualified, to no avail. I've worked hard all my life, paid taxes, voted, engaged in political discussion and made the ultimate sacrifice: My two sons serve in the U.S. military. Job loss is devastating, and if I could fix it myself, I would. I challenge any lawmaker to live without an income. (Laughter.) That's what Katherine said. It's hard. (Applause.)

So when we've got the mom of two of our troops who is working hard out there but is having to wear a coat inside the house, we've got a problem, and it's one that can be fixed.

And Katherine's not alone. Develyn Smith (sp), who's watching today from her home in California wrote me about her hunt for a new job. Since she was laid off 13 months ago, she's sent out hundreds of resumes, she's volunteered, she's done seasonal work, she doesn't want to just be sitting around the house. She's been taking online courses to learn new skills. Without unemployment insurance, though, she won't be able to pay for her car or her cell phone, which makes the job hunt that much harder...

Now, two weeks ago Congress went home for the holidays and let this lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans. If this doesn't get fixed, it will hurt about 14 million Americans over the course of this year -- 5 million workers along with 9 million of their family members, their spouses, their kids.

Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it saps their motivation to get a new job. I -- I really want to -- I want to go at this for a second. ... (applause) -- that really sells the American people short. I meet a lot of people as president of the United States and as a candidate for president of the United States and as a U.S. senator and as a state senator. I -- I meet a lot of people. And I can't -- I can't name a time where I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job. (Applause.)...

Katherine, in the letter that she wrote to me, said, do folks really think that cutting this benefit will make someone hire me? I mean, that's not how employers are thinking...

Voting for unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs. And voting against it does not. Congress should pass this bipartisan plan right away and I will sign it right away. And more than 1 million Americans across the country will feel a little hope right away. And hope is contagious...

You know, when I was listening to Katherine, I was just so struck by her strength and dignity, and I think people, when they bump into some tough times like Katherine, they're not looking for pity; they just want a shot.

  • MarieB

    How many people saw this during the day? This needs to be telecast in the evening as a special broadcast on the major channels.