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Pass The American Jobs Act

(Ms. LEE asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend her remarks.)

Rep. Barbara Lee

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, today, the Census Bureau came out with new numbers on poverty in America. In 2010, 15.1 percent, which is 46.1 million Americans, lived in poverty. This is up from 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million Americans, in 2009. And 2.6 million more Americans fell into the ranks of the poor. For 2.3 percent of Americans, their incomes fell. This trend really does carry long-term and short-term consequences for our children, our families, and for our national and economic security. These are not people in Democratic districts only. These are individuals who live in Republican districts and Republican Tea Party districts and independent districts. These are people who live all over the country.

This summer, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus went out and we listened to people. We helped find jobs for people. The stories that we heard were quite depressing but also reminded us of the job that we have to do. I want to just tell you one story of children who are now taking care of their parents because their parents lost a job. These children are working at minimum wage jobs, for instance, at McDonald's. This is a moral outrage. We've got to pass the American Jobs Act. Until we create jobs--and there are four individuals for one job--we need to pass H.R. 589, which would extend unemployment benefits for those who have hit the 99 wall. That's the least we can do until we create these jobs.

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