Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said Monday that the Republicans’ failure to extend long-term unemployment benefits to Americans is “vulgar.”
“Unfortunately, we have a lot of people in elective office who are not willing to help those who are in trouble, and the recovery has been good for Wall Street. One percent of the American people has benefited or had 95 percent of the recovery [and] 95 percent of the public has had no recovery at all. This is absolutely necessary, and the failure to do so I think is vulgar,” Cleaver said on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.”
The Senate on Tuesday voted to extend jobless benefits to the unemployed, and the measure goes to the House for consideration.
“Rep. Cleaver, as we get ready for this vote, some on the right are saying unemployment insurance is a disservice, is a disincentive. What’s your response?” Rev. Al Sharpton, host of “PoliticsNation,” asked Cleaver prior to the Senate’s key vote Monday night.
“It’s disingenuous for them to even say that, and it’s I think a little mean spirited. Look, that old liberal George Bush, as you mentioned earlier, did it five times in 2008 at the beginning of the recession. George Bush the old liberal believed that it was necessary to help Americans who were going to experience long-term unemployment, and he did the right thing,” Cleaver said.
Sharpton said some Tea Party members might agree with Cleaver’s characterization of former President George W. Bush as “liberal.”
“You know congressman, you said that liberal George Bush – and I know you were being facetious – but Tea Party members, some of them probably do consider him liberal. In fact, a few weeks ago, Tea Party Senator Rand Paul notoriously said extending jobless aid does a disservice to workers. Now he’s saying it’s a disincentive,” Sharpton said.
“Now Senator Paul knows better than that. He’s from Kentucky, a very poor state. In 1966, your former boss, Rev., wrote a song called, ‘Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.’ I’m writing a song now that I hope Senator Paul and others will sing. It’s called, ‘Say It Loud – I’m Stingy, and I’m Stuck,’ because I think that that’s exactly what’s going on here.”
“Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” was written and recorded by singer James Brown.