Unemployed metro Detroiters ask Mich. lawmakers for help

Unemployed metro Detroiters ask Mich. lawmakers for help

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Representatives Gary Peters and Sander Levin lead the discussion Friday Representatives Gary Peters and Sander Levin lead the discussion Friday
(WJBK) -

Auto workers, teachers, health care professionals and union members were all represented at the "Lunch and Listen" event Friday, hosted by U.S. Representatives Gary Peters and Sander Levin. Everyone in attendance is among the 1.6 million Americans who lost unemployment benefits in December.

"Everyone thinks we just want to sit at home and take that money and that's not the case. I want to work. I'm losing my insurance, [I have] two little girls at home and it's just a tough time," says Curtis Rodriguez. He is a master plumber who has been out of work for 10 months. 

One laid off engineer told the lawmakers the benefits did not stop him from trying to fine other job, saying, "My average take home pay when I'm working is at least a thousand dollars a week. Unemployment gives me $300 a week. You think I like living on $300 a week?"

"The stories, it's so compelling. People who want money for gas so they can keep looking for a job. People who need some food," says Rep. Sander Levin. tells FOX 2's Robin Schwartz.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report from Schwartz


Still, Congress has failed to find a solution, leaving all of these families hanging. The lawmakers listened Friday and promised to continue to fight to get the payments restored.

"I think it's outrageous that the Congress is in a recess now. We're back home, not in Washington, doing the job that we need to be doing," says Rep. Gary Peters.

Congress will be back in session on Monday and the lawmakers say they will push for a vote on the issue as early as Tuesday. They plan to bring many of the stories they heard here back to Washington.

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