WASHINGTON [Jan. 15] – Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) announced plans today to perform a spoken-word version of S. 1845, “Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act,” at a D.C.-area poetry slam next week.
“After a career as a U.S. Army Ranger, time in the Rhode Island state legislature, three terms each in the U.S. House and Senate, I am ready to use the power of my naked, raw voice to deliver the spirit of this bill, provided there is a cover charge and waitresses with body piercings and tattoos nearby.”
The bill, which was remanded to the Senate Finance Committee this week, would extend emergency unemployment compensation payments through April, amends the FSEUCA of 1970 to postpone termination of the period during which a state may determine its “on” and “off” indicators, according to specific temporary formula substitutions from Dec. 31, 2013, to March 31, 2014, and changes the requirements for state non-reduction rules.
The bill’s climax, according to Reed, is Section 5, subsection b. “Funds appropriated under either the first or second sentence of clause (iv) of section 2(c)(2)(D) of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act,” he said, “shall be available to cover the cost of additional extended unemployment benefits provided under such section 2(c)(2)(D) by reason of the amendments made by subsection (a) as well as to cover the cost of such benefits provided under such section 2(c)(2)(D), as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.”
“You can’t teach someone to write like that. It’s divinely inspired. If one could paint with words, [this bill] would be a Picasso,” he said. “It is my duty to jam this literary perfection into the earholes of anyone who wants to hear – I mean REALLY hear – for the first time, man.”
Reed then closed his eyes and began snapping his fingers rhythmically. “Spoken word is an art form that walks a fine line between being compelling and contrived – just as this bill does,” said Reed. “The House better be hip to that. Any changes to this bill in a conference committee will be just as bad as drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.”
The poetry slam will be held Tuesday night, in an art space above the Senate parking garage. Patrons are asked to wear black turtleneck shirts and to be mindful of the two clove-cigarette minimum.