(CNSNews.com) -- As the unemployment rate in the United States approaches 10 percent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that some “on the Republican side” have called out-of-work Americans “bums” and “hobos.” He also said the unemployed are people who legitimately “cannot find work for long periods of time,” and he disagreed with those who suggest that unemployment is a “never-ending issue.”
“You have two Senators here, the Reid cousins,” Harry Reid told reporters during a Wednesday press conference about defense spending with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). “We have tremendous unemployment in our states. We’re vying [for] who has the highest unemployment--it’s nothing you want to win but we’ve got problems in our states. We have huge unemployment. We can’t leave here unless we address that issue.”
“Now, people who think that unemployment is a never-ending issue simply don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Reid. “We’ve had people make ridiculous statements on the Republican side saying, ‘they’re bums, they’re hobos.’ These are people who can’t find work for long periods of time. Even those people who are out of work for long periods of time, their unemployment [benefit] is cut off.”
The Senate Majority leader added that the Democrats will do “everything” they can to allow the people who cannot find work to “continue working.”
Reid said: “And so we’re going to make sure that we do everything we can to allow these people who cannot find work to continue working, and so we’re obligated to do these two things: that is, take care of the funding of our troops and making sure that we have emergency monies for the disasters that have occurred through no fault of anyone else except BP around the country this last year; and we also have to take care of the situations like we have on the tax extenders, including the unemployed.”
Reid’s Deputy Communications Director Regan Lachapelle told CNSNews.com that when Reid said Republicans had referred to unemployed people as "bums" and "hobos" he was referring to comments made by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) over the extension of unemployment benefits.
Sen. Kyl had said that unemployment insurance “doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”
When questioning the need for extending unemployment benefits, Rep. Heller had asked, “Is the government now creating hobos?”
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