GOP says no to jobless benefits, groups plan D.C. march


How do you trim a bill to provide unemployment benefits to laid-off workers in the millionaires' club of the U.S. Senate? First, you take food out of the mouths of the hungry by cutting food stamps by $6 billion. Then you reduce health care for the poor by cutting state aid for Medicaid by $8 billion. And finally you enforce the racial and rural digital divide by refusing funds for broadband projects to the tune of another $2 billion.

And still it isn't enough for the Republican Party. Sadly, negotiations broke down again Wednesday on the long-delayed effort to extend unemployment compensation. Citing fears of increasing the deficit, GOP senators continue to say no to anything proposed by the Obama administration and the Democratic majority in Congress.

With a procedural vote scheduled for Thursday, supporters of working-class families seem two votes shy. The Washington Post writes: "Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) set the procedural wheels in motion for a climactic vote on the legislation as soon as Thursday. Despite days of talks, a senior Democratic aide said Reid had been unable to persuade any Republicans to support the measure, leaving him at least two votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP filibuster."

The AFL-CIO and civil rights groups have pushed for support of the bill. The trade union federation said, "It's time to tell Republican senators we've had it with their jobless aid blockade. So far this month, their refusal to extend unemployment insurance has caused nearly 1 million jobless workers to lose the little they have to survive on."

Labor is urging phone calls to 1-877-442-6801 to demand the Senate pass the bill.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has also joined the fight. It is urging the Senate to support the legislation and extend jobless benefits through the end of the year, stating that doing so "will help the economy recover while providing badly needed assistance in today's historic economic crisis."

The civil rights leaders go on to point out that over 1.2 million workers have lost benefits by the end of last week.

Will the GOP listen? Only if forced to.

Frustrated by the ongoing stalemate in Congress, civil rights and labor groups have called for a national march for jobs and justice in Washington on Oct. 2. The march will be held under the theme of One Nation, One Dream.

The march has the support of the NAACP, SEIU, the United Auto Workers and the AFL-CIO.

Commenting on the need for the march, George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, told The New York Times, ""It's very annoying to see the tea party folks on television all the time as if they're speaking for working people, while all they're doing is divide working people and push our agenda back, both racially and economically."

The announcement of the march comes as a pleasant surprise. Huge efforts are also being mounted by the very same democratic coalition to get out the vote and defeat Republicans this fall. Rarely are such marches organized during an election year. Conventional wisdom might suggest election struggles are best served by concentration of efforts. Conventional wisdom in this case might be wrong.

One might recall the conventionalists doubted the electability of President Obama and pooh-poohed the notion that youth, Blacks and Latino first-time voters would show up at the ballot box. Some even heaped scorn on the use of the Internet and social networking as an organizing tool, a technique that was at the center of the Obama election strategy.

The Obama election coalition, it appears, will seek to reenergize these same voters in the mid-term elections. Novel organizing techniques, including rallies, sit-ins and marches, combined with social networking, may well make, and not break, Democratic chances this fall.

Photo: PW/Marilyn Bechtel


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  • Self accountability is the only way! my grand parents and great grand parents struggled to make"ends meat" but at the end of the day they did not feel like they were owed a thing by their GOVERNMENT. One should prioritize and not spend their money on lottery tickets, excessive things, big screen tvs, or any other expense they they do not need....and the working man does not need the government taking what is not theirs and giving it to another....MEXICO AND CUBA ARE VERY CLOSE TAKE YOUR PICK! where did the founding fathers speak of welfare being a government obligation. it is not! GOD BLESS WHAT AMERICA ONCE STOOD FOR AND WILL AGAIN SOON ONCE THE GOP TAKE OVER IN NOVEMBER!!!!!

    Posted by Jason , 07/01/2010 7:25pm (5 years ago)

  • Spare me with the "taxation without representation" lines!!! Who represents the true working man today? Who represents those that work, but are still struggling to make ends meet and feed their families? It is definitely not the GOP. When was the last time a true "working man" was elected to represent the people? Last time I checked they all have Ivy League degrees and never had to struggle like the majority of people they represent. How can anyone justify cutting the jobless benefits of those who struggle everyday to keep our nation's economy going? How can they justify cutting programs that feed those that otherwise go hungry? Check your facts. In 1776, the founding fathers created the most radically liberal and progressive society of the time. Don't let their dream die by allowing the GOP and teabaggers to make decisions. Stick to Fox News Jason...

    Posted by Vinnie Amoriello, 06/28/2010 10:17am (5 years ago)

  • THANK YOU GOP FOR STANDING UP FOR THE WORKING MAN! We had one revolution once in our time. Taxation without representation is happening once again, its time for the working man to stand up for what is rightfully his!

    Posted by Jason , 06/27/2010 3:09pm (5 years ago)

  • -you must be either an illegal, a six figure government employee who has a lucrative desk job, a union mobster, or unemployed and raking in your cozy check each month.

    We are in AMERICA. Cuba is only a raft ride away, if you hate this place so much whats stopping you from leaving? What is so wrong with freedom and personal liberty? Would life really be better if we repeat the history and follow hitler or stalin's practices. Maybe we could relive the glory days of china with Chairman Mao. Is that the AMERICA you would like to live in?

    Posted by Jason , 06/27/2010 3:07pm (5 years ago)

  • The commenter below is either a fool, wealthy or both.

    People chose to be unemployed? People chose to lose their homes, to have a few hundred dollars a week--that now they can't even depend upon--to raise their families? People chose not to be rich?

    There simply aren't enough jobs out there right now, because of the horrible economic situation, because of the system, and that is _forcing_ people to be poor and destitute.

    What are you advocating? A return to the days of the 19-teens and the 1920s and before, where there were no regulations, no protection at all from big corporations?

    It's ironic that you talk about America being great because people have a chance--while at the same time advocate for policies that crush any chance for millions of people.

    Posted by Dan M, 06/26/2010 9:05pm (5 years ago)

  • People must fess up to their actions. The great part about America is that everyone HAS A CHANCE. Once government taxes the common man to death, no done will have a chance. Liberals and The CP is no friend to the AMERICAN WHO DREAMS TO LIVE A BETTER LIFE.

    Posted by Jason , 06/26/2010 6:11pm (5 years ago)

  • When will the CP and other liberals realize that its not the GOP that is the enemy. It is a system that rewards laziness and a system where the worker pays atleast 30% in taxes for those who CHOSE not to work. The system is flawed. I believe in charity and giving to charity, however I do not think the government should dictate charity contributions. The GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOD. Until one is accountable for their own actions, this problem will not get better. YOU SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO TAKE A DRUG TEST TO RECEIVE ANY GOVERNMENT BENEFITS. this would take atleast half of those "unemployed" out of receiving benefits. If someone can do drugs and spend money on crak rather than food for their family they do not deserve any special benefits.....

    Posted by Jason , 06/26/2010 6:09pm (5 years ago)

  • When will the American people wake up to the fact that the Republican is no friend to the ordinary person who gets up, does his or her job, raises a family, and wants his or her piece of the wealth.

    The Republicans (and most of the Democrats) are absolutely owned and controlled by the large corporations.

    The large corporations and multinationals must be broken into smaller units which lack the monetary clout to control Congress.

    We need a Constitutional amendment which reverses the recent Supreme Court decision giving corporations the rights of individuals. Their power must be broken for good.

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 06/26/2010 5:44am (5 years ago)

  • If OUR government doesn't see what Paul Ryan is proposing, or at least looks at what he is proposing,
    or even considers looking at- what Paul Ryan is saying his plan/ideas can do for this country, and the joe schmoe's ( like Myself-rasing grand-children and caring for my elderly mother) then I must say... I am then even more inclined to believe all the rumors and conspiracy theories that are going around, and have been going around for years, about our governments plans for the American people via the NEW WORLD ORDER REFORM, FEMA, and the UNITED NATIONS!
    We Need something fast and we need it NOW!

    Posted by tanya tortola, 06/25/2010 5:17pm (5 years ago)

  • Well I guess everyone on unemployment( who have lost everything anyway) will end up on the welfare!
    So the deficit will grow either way, only more people will end up homeless!
    WTF about the children caught up in this!!!

    Posted by tanya tortola, 06/25/2010 5:12pm (5 years ago)

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