Reid: Jobs report would be better if Republicans act

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used the latest jobs report to call on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to take up a bipartisan bill to extend unemployment benefits.

“Even as our economy continues on the path to growth, in Nevada alone, thousands of families are looking toward Speaker Boehner to pass an extension of long-term unemployment assistance,” Reid said Friday. “Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues are too busy defending billionaires like the Koch brothers to bother with the middle class.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Last month, the Senate passed a five-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits, which would help more than 2 million people who lost their benefits at the end of last year. But Boehner has refused to bring the bill up for a vote. 

On Friday, the April jobs report showed that the economy added 288,000 jobs and unemployment fell to 6.3 percent.

Reid said the report was good news but that Republicans could be doing more to create jobs and help the middle class by raising the federal minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and passing a bill to ensure women get equal pay for equal work.

“The first thing we should do to grow our economy is raise the minimum wage,” Reid said. “The Senate could pass an increase in the minimum wage tomorrow if Republicans would drop their filibuster.”

Earlier this week, Senate Republicans blocked the Senate from considering a bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage form $7.25 to $10.10 an hour because they said it would have cost the economy nearly 1 million jobs according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

Democrats have made the minimum wage issue central to their midterm election campaign on income equality, which aims to portray Republicans as beholden to the rich.

Reid said Republicans voted against the bill because they were listening to conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch, who donate millions of dollars to Republican campaigns.

“Democrats will continue fighting for hard-working Americans,” Reid said. “Whenever Republicans decide that defending the Koch brothers is no longer their top priority, Democrats stand ready to work with them to ensure that all middle class families have a fair shot at the American Dream.”