FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Frank Dermody
Democrats lead way in protecting workers
HARRISBURG, May 24 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, said the House’s rejection today of a bill to slash unemployment benefits (H.B. 916) is a huge win for working people and sends a clear signal that extreme political measures are not welcome in Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania workers won an important victory today when the House resoundingly defeated a bill that threatens their security,” Dermody said. “By restricting eligibility for unemployment compensation and deeply cutting benefits, this bill would take away the lifeline that thousands of workers depend on to survive when they lose a job through no fault of their own.
“The supporters of this legislation claim it is aimed at shoring up the money in the unemployment compensation fund. They seem to want to blame the victims of this bad economy. They want to punish workers for being ‘too unemployed.’
“The true target of this mean-spirited bill is workers themselves, and 32 Republican legislators felt so strongly about saving Pennsylvania families from this anti-worker bill that they joined all House Democrats in voting no,” Dermody said.
The bill was rejected when it received “second consideration” today in the House. A bill must be considered on three separate days before it can pass. House staff sources are unable to recall any previous instance when a bill was voted down by roll call on its second day.
Dermody noted that one Republican called today’s action a “test vote” and the bill could be revived because Republicans filed a motion to reconsider the vote after the measure was defeated.
“Simply put, this legislation is a frontal attack on workers. I applaud the Democrats and Republicans who voted against it today, and I urge all of these legislators to stand by that vote should this issue reappear in the future,” Dermody said.