Your constant push to be heard may be paying off. Many of you have signed the Change.org petition to extend unemployment benefits, which will be time well spent. Arthur Delaney of Huffington Post wrote about the petition creator, Issa Decker, in his latest offering: Petition For Unemployment Benefits Goes Viral, Garners 26,000 Signatures
“I thought it would get 30 or 40 friends’ signatures,” she said. Instead, as she put it, “It went viral.”
Decker posted her petition online on March 12. Two months later, it has more than 26,000 signatures. It’s the most popular user-generated petition Change.org has ever seen. It’s partly a testament to the huge problem of unemployment, partly a testament to the extremely dedicated online community of unemployed people.
Go to HuffPost Petition For Unemployment Benefits Goes Viral, Garners 26,000 Signatures for the rest of this encouraging story.
Time to post some of your great letters. All the people that I have posted here gave me permission to do so. I share these letters from across the country, so others can see what’s going on outside their area. While I have not called these offices to verify these letters, I trust the people who sent me the letters, since I have had ongoing correspondence with them. I will retract any information that proves to be false.
To show you that your hard work may be paying off, here’s a note I received from reader R about his continued interactions with Senator Reid’s office:
I spoke with M in Senator Reid’s office. He saw nothing new on (Congressional) calendar for Tier 5. He did note that Tier 4 has passed through the house and ways committee which is encouraging. (Current interpretation: It may be easier for the HWAMC to propose additional weeks of Tier 4, since Tier 4 is currently in use, than create a completely new Tier 5 structure. Verification to follow once I contact Senator Reid’s office on 5-17) Mike will be getting his updated soft schedule on 05/16. I will be speaking with him that afternoon to review schedule.
I explained my frustration with the lack of mainstream media coverage, and how without that Congress doesn’t seem to be hearing us. He quickly responded that 99ers are doing a great job of getting ourselves heard, and that people are taking notice of us. He noted that as of the 12th on 99ers are bringing our petition to Washington. I mentioned we only have about 26,000 signatures and that seemed light to me considering hundreds of thousands are out of work and benefits. He said that we actually have a pretty good amount of signatures and should get noticed.
He also noted that they only have til around June 2nd to sort this out. I asked what happens if they cannot by that time. He responded that it would be likely that Reid would look to delay the congressional break until this is sorted out.
Thanks again for all your hard work, R.
A letter from reader, msanonymous222 also showed that some in Congress support extending unemployment (emphasis mine):
Dear Ms. L:
Thank you for sharing with me your support for extending unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks. I appreciate hearing from you, and I agree with you.
I strongly support adding additional weeks of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Although we have seen small signs of economic improvement in recent months, including higher job creation numbers and growth in the Gross Domestic Product, millions of Americans remain in search of jobs that aren’t there to be found. Many of those individuals have been unemployed since the recession began in December 2007, more than two years ago. Providing them with additional assistance until the economy recovers and they can find work is not only the moral thing to do, it is also smart economically. Every dollar of unemployment insurance benefits generates $1.61 in economic activity, according to economist Mark Zandi. Extending unemployment insurance will help the economy continue to grow, in turn creating more jobs.
Please be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues to pass additional weeks of unemployment benefits for the hardworking Americans who just want to get back to work.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you won’t hesitate to get in touch whenever I can be of assistance to you.
P.S. I’ve created an Email Newsletter to provide periodic updates on a variety of issues. You can sign up for it by going to my website at http://www.house.gov/schakowsky.
Member of Congress
Another letter of support:
Thank you for writing your column on cakechow.com, and for continually updating it. I am a 99 weeker, and have been calling Sen. Menendez’s office (I’m from NJ) nearly daily, now I am also badgering Baucus. Today for the first time I heard something other than “we will pass that on to him”. She said they are introducing legislation next week, she anticipates Thursday, which will include jobs creation and possibly a Tier V.
Calling Baucus, his staff is borderline rude, and refuse to answer why he is opposed to a Tier V, they claim he is not. When I quote him about 99 weeks being sufficient, they say he wants it funded. Then I tell them that the Pentagon’s Gates publically said Congress is giving the military too much money and pushing through unneeded equipment, there’s their money, they get downright nasty.
My point is, if legislation may come out next week, we’ve got to start ceaselessly calling everybody, now. Please look into this for your column tomorrow, and get it on gather.com too!!
Thank you again for all you’re doing,
A letter from Representative George Miller’s office:
I been in contact with Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and I finally got a response in regard to adding more weeks of unemployment benefits. Rep. Miller has been a strong advocate of unemployment benefits in the House. This was the response I got from his office:
“In response to your question: Rep. Miller does not support an arbitrary limit on the maximum duration of unemployment benefits. Rep. Miller would support a continuation of assistance until such time as the economy is creating sufficient jobs so that all individuals who want a job can find one.”
Thanks Mike for all your work on this issue.
You will be heard if you keep up the noise!
Speaking of noise, inafj.org made some noise in Buffalo yesterday during President Obama’s visit to discuss his jobs initiative. Jeff Baker, an inafj.org representative, was interviewed by Dylan Ratigan about why the job market is so poor and how the banks have purchased the government and kept small business from getting the loans they need to create jobs:
Go to this link to hear the discussion. I can’t post it here using Examiner software:
I have been hearing more about the unemployment extension issue over the past few days than I have in over a month. Passing additional weeks to Tier 4 may be more palatable to Congress than instituting a new Tier. Either way, there’s a necessity for additional weeks of unemployment for many. There’s something brewing out there and as long as you keep the pressure on Congress and the news media, there’s a good chance that you will see some positive results. As with any fight, you’re not guaranteed victory, but if you don’t keep fighting you will be assured of defeat.
The next two weeks will be vital to you and millions of unemployed who will be losing unemployment benefits. Congress will be going on break for the Memorial Day holiday and then they will be doing the reelection thing for a few months. Now is the time to give this legislation the push it deserves.
Here’s the daily list:
There needs to be a concerted effort by all to contact the media and let them know how serious this issue is for millions who will be left without any kind of assistance if a long term solution is not addressed quickly. Besides contacting the national outlets, make sure to contact your local news outlets, since they often do stories that are picked up nationally.
Congress.org has a great media contact list: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/
FAIR has a list of media contacts http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=111
Another media contact list is located at: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_oet&address=358×1903
Keeping the Tier 5 issue alive is going to be up to you, so be sure to contact your congressional representatives as often as you can. You need to continue to pressure Congress to act responsibly and to extend benefits for those unable to find work. Send your representative a fax using FaxZero.com. As has been mentioned in the comments section, you can send up to two free faxes a day.
Here’s a great site where you can find both state and federal contact information: http://conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm
Don’t forget to sign the Change.org petition:
The 99ers need a Tier V added to Unemployment Benefits.
A second petition can be signed at: Unemployment: We need a Tier 5, NOW!
Tell the Senate it’s time to create jobs for the 15 million unemployed, and put America back to work: Jobs for Main Street Not for Wall Street
Donnalee King, the San Diego Unemployment Examiner and Jobless Unite Tier 5 to Survive, is a tireless advocate for the unemployed. Be sure to visit her site to read articles about unemployment and how you can get involved with groups that support the unemployed. She recommends joining AFLTU (Advocacy for the Long Term Unemployed), which will help you organize into one voice for the unemployment cause.
Please send your comments and questions to [email protected].
I’ll post updates as they are made available. You can also view my updates and new posts at Twitter: http://twitter.com/layofflist