From the Other Washington, Rep. Jim McDermott

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Representative Jim McDermott's 7th congressional district includes the southwest section of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.

Unemployment Insurance Bill Finally Passes

Long-term unemployment has reached its highest levels since we’ve been counting, and yet, prior to July 1, not one of the more than 200 Republicans in Congress had voted in favor of legislation including an extension of unemployment benefits to jobless workers. The program lapsed in early June because of Republican obstruction in the Senate, and millions of Americans have lost their benefits since then.

We finally passed a bill restoring and extending unemployment benefits. I’m glad that we were able to send some relief to the millions of jobless workers who need them to make ends meet, but am disgusted that we had to wait for nearly two months.

McDermott Congo Conflict Minerals Provisions in Wall Street Reform Bill

This week, Congress enacted critical legislation to reform the banking and investment practices of Wall Street. I am very pleased that this measure includes provisions to hold accountable American companies whose products contain minerals from mines that help to fund the devastating war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

These provisions incorporate much of my Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128), and will affect companies like Apple, Intel, and HP, requiring them to submit an annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing which of their products are not “conflict-free,” meaning they use minerals from mines controlled by armed groups.

The conflict in the DRC has become one of the deadliest and most brutal in modern history; the rape of hundreds of thousands of women and girls has been used as a primary tool of war. Estimates suggest that between 800 and 1,100 people are murdered each day in the country. Funding for armed groups often comes from the sale of minerals—often to American companies—from mines the groups control. This legislation will help thousands of people and protect countless women in the Democratic Republic of Congo by cutting off a key source of funding for armed groups.

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