A spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner dismissed DeLauro’s accusations, pointing to data in a recent House Ways & Means Committee report that indicates that employment and jobs have grown faster since the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program expired on Dec. 28, 2013.
"There were more jobs and far more people were employed after the EUC program ended than while it operated," the report stated.
“More unemployment checks won’t create less unemployment, in fact, the evidence suggests they create more,” said Matt Wolking, communications advisor for Boehner.
President Obama also recently bragged that “we've now seen the fastest job growth in the United States in the first half of the year since 1999.” June data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that the unemployment rate has fallen to 6.1 percent, down from 6.3 percent in May.
But DeLauro ignored the data, suggesting that Republicans want the unemployed to "suffer."
“Where are the values of this great country that we would leave people by the side of the road, as road kill?” DeLauro (D-Conn.) asked, speaking about the millions of unemployed Americans at a “Witness Wednesday” event on Capitol Hill last week.
“When you hear the stories that you’ve already heard you have to say to yourself, Congresswoman Schakowsky and I are standing next to one another and you kind of gasp, you gasp,” DeLauro said, following the reading of letters from the unemployed.
"Who are we? What is this nation about? Where are the values of this great country that we would leave people by the side of the road, as road kill, and not do anything to help turn their lives around?”
“The House Republican majority is content to do nothing,” DeLauro continued, “Senate passed a bipartisan extension of benefits. My colleagues and I have signed a discharge petition to force a vote on UI (Unemployment Insurance) but the Republican majority says: Suffer some more, families: You deserve it. You deserve it."
“It’s wrong, it’s a dereliction of our duties, it’s immoral, it’s an abdication of the responsibilities that we have to the American people who voted to put us here, to work on their behalf,” she added.
“We need to say to the Republicans: stop fooling around, stop fiddling while Rome burns, while these folks have nowhere to go and find themselves destitute. Join us in passing an extension of the unemployment insurance,” DeLauro concluded.
But Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor, said that recent employment numbers are slightly higher in spite of the Obama administration’s efforts, and show that conservatives were right to argue against extending unemployment benefits last year.
“These six months which Obama heralds as the largest, fastest growth in jobs in the U.S. since 1999, have coincided with the six months of which we have no longer extended emergency unemployment, long term unemployment," he said.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) who also spoke at the unemployment event, is sponsoring a bill in the House that would extend unemployment insurance by five months for the 2.3 million Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits since they expired.
Regular unemployment insurance provides benefits for up to 26 weeks, based on how long a person held a job. Extended benefits are available to people who have used up their 26 weeks.
"Witness Wednesday," is hosted by The Center for Effective Government, the National Employment Law Project, the Coalition for Human Needs, and the National Women's Law Center. The rally featured the reading of some of “more than 2,000 stories from Americans suffering from long-term unemployment” by “members of Congress and faith, labor, civil rights, and nonprofit leaders” in order to “demand an extension of long-term unemployment insurance.”