It's been over five years since the beginning of the Great Recession, and unemployment is still a major economic hurdle in the United States, with long-term unemployment extremely problematic as over 4.6 million Americans have been jobless for at least 27 weeks, according to the latest job figures.
But when a hearing Thursday on long-term unemployment held before the 19-member Joint Economic Committee began, it was with just a single lawmaker in attendance. Panelists testifying on the problem and discussing its potential solutions spoke only to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the committee's vice-chair, for the beginning of the nearly 90-minute session.
Three more Democrats arrived later to join in the meeting, Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) arrived eight minutes into the hearing. Then when the hearing had been under way for 35 minutes, Representative John Delaney (D-MD) arrived, and eventually Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) joined in bringing the crowd to four.
Didn't anyone else get the memo?
The National Journal reports:
"When a hearing to explore how to get the long-term unemployed back to work kicked off on Wednesday morning, only one lawmaker was in attendance. That was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who was holding the hearing in her role as the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee. The Joint Economic Commitee is one of a handful of committees whose members come from both parties and both houses of Congress. Klobuchar was eventually joined by three colleagues (in order of their appearance): Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. All four are Democrats."