Showdown in the Senate

The vote should come this week on the bipartisan bill for a five-month Unemployment Benefit Extension (UBE) in the Senate.  The bill includes "reforms" to the EUC program (put in by Republicans) and has been called "unworkable" by the NASWA, a group that represents the people who run the actual programs.  So obviously, we want to take their criticisms seriously. Also, Speaker Boehner is waving the criticisms around as justification for not allowing a vote in the House - the second reason we need to take these criticisms seriously.  Here is a letter from the Secretary of Labor disputing the "unworkableness".  http://www.scribd.com/doc/213774550/PerezLetter

I think this makes for a great opportunity to push for a full-year extension.  Why in the hell are we talking about a five month extension that will end in May anyway?

This week we will be calling a select group of Senators to lobby for a improved ONE-YEAR UBE that incorporates the criticisms of the NASWA and will ultimately have a better chance of passing the House.  Here are the three areas of concern from the NASWA, followed by our response:

Length of extension is too short, the benefits would expire at the end of May and that is hardly enough time to administer the payments before they expire again.  This is why we are lobbying for a one-year extension.  Ask them why it makes sense to only extend for five months?  Why do we have to go through this all over again in at the end of May?  Why can't just do their job and pass a UBE for a FULL YEAR?

Some of the changes to the EUC program proposed as "reforms" would be difficult to administer.  This is why we are lobbying for a "clean" extension - no added reforms.

It would be difficult to make the back payments, especially to verify looking-for-work requirements.  This point is non-negotiable.  These agencies have handled back payments in the past, they can do it again.

When you talk to the Senator's staff, be sure to let them know that you are with AA4U.org   Suggest they google us and click on the link titled "Fliers, Handouts, and Posters".  That is where our members will be downloading materials all week to distribute at unemployment offices, food pantries, churches, and discount stores.  The fliers feature contact information for six key Republican Senators so that the people can call in directly and demand a "clean" one-year UBE with no "reforms" and full retroactive benefits.

TODAY IS THE DAY WE STAND STRONG FOR THE UNEMPLOYED!!!!!!  Use this one Toll Free, 24-hour number to call as many of the listed Senators as you can and press our points above, then tell them that if they don't get a UBE passed by April 1st, Republicans all over the country are going to become "NOVEMBER FOOLS": 

1-866-338-1015

Targets are:  

  • Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
  • Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) 
  • Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) 
  • Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
  • Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
  • Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)

That's it for this blogpost; enjoy the new website, talking to our elected officials and, I beg you: sign our petition right now and share it on facebook or email 10 of your friends. (It is ok to share more than once, especially on facebook.)  http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/activist-alliance-for

-- Thank you for your activism, we can only make change if we pull together....namaste, Laura Rubalcaba