Booker to push for jobless aid extension in first floor speech

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) plans to “turn up the heat” on his colleagues to pass an emergency unemployment extension during his first floor speech next week, where he plans to focus on the long-term unemployed.

According to MyCentralJersey.com, Booker toured the state Friday and Saturday speaking with the unemployed and plans to include their stories in his speech, which he’ll use to urge his colleagues to extend the benefits program for the long-term unemployed that expired late last year.

“We need to break through the stereotypes that somehow people don’t want to work, somehow people are lazy, somehow people are just collecting this check and using it as an excuse to sit at home,” Booker told one gathering on Friday.

Booker, along with Democratic Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone, stopped at a social services center in Plainfield, N.J., a soup kitchen in New Brunswick, and met with a family in Old Bridge and a women’s group in Clinton.

The senator took to Twitter and Instagram to document the trips.

Booker won a seat in the Senate in a special election in October of last year, coming under fire for what critics called a “showhorse” attitude and questions about his efficacy during his time as mayor of Newark.

Supporters counseled him to eschew the spotlight he had earned in the Democratic Party serving as a prominent surrogate for President Obama in 2012 and instead focus on his work in the Senate when he came to Washington.