WASHINGTON – With 50,000 petition signatures calling on Republicans to restore emergency unemployment benefits in hand,a group of poverty advocates and long-term unemployed people wove their way through the Capitol on Thursday catching the attention of tourists,U.S. Capitol police and surprised congressional staff members.
Boehner is the House speaker and McConnell is the Senate minority leader.
McConnell’s office accepted the petitions,while Boehner’s office directed the group to drop the petitions at the congressional mail office for screening and sorting.
The unorthodox journey through the House and Senate halls took place after a press conference at which Rep. Barbara Lee,D-Calif.; Sen. Jack Reed,D-R.I.; Rep. Sander Levin,D-Mich.,and Sen. Cory Booker,D-N.J.,spoke about the hardships people had to endure without emergency unemployment benefits and how investing in their support could help the economy grow.
“We’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep at it,and we’re going to try and work on a bipartisan basis,” Reed said.
Unemployment benefits lasting longer than 26 weeks expired at the end of last year. The Senate voted Tuesday to debate a bill to reinstate those benefits,but since then has been unable to agree on amendments offered by Republicans to make cuts in the budget to pay for the extension.
Reach reporter Griffin Moores at [email protected] or 202-326-9871. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.