Extend jobless benefits!

Republicans say: Wall Street yes, Main Street no!

We say: Extend unemployment insurance benefits!

On Dec. 16, 2009, the House passed the Jobs For Main Street Act of 2010 (HR 2847).

The emphasis of the bill is on job creation and extended emergency relief for the unemployed (see details here). The bill would be funded with unspent TARP funds that had been set aside for the Wall Street bailout. The vote was 217 to 212 with not a single Republican vote in favor.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama stated that 2010 would be the year of help and compassion. Senate Democrats are expected to bring the bill to the Senate floor in February, and Senate Republicans are signaling they will broaden their mantra of “No to Change” to include “No to Help, No to Compassion and No to Hope.”

The lesson of the past year’s fight for health care reform is that without a strong people’s movement, change is difficult. Such movements, like brick walls built one brick and a bit of mortar at a time, are built by the accumulation of many small actions. Now is the time for one of those actions.

Contact your senators and let them hear the anger and frustration President Obama spoke of. Demand they include the same extension for unemployment benefits that is in the House bill. On Feb. 12 unemployment insurance offices around the country will be closing down the program. Without this extension millions of unemployed workers and families will be dropped from the rolls, falling deeper into poverty and hopelessness. Let’s start laying brick!

Find your senator and contact information, including e-mail and telephone numbers here.

Photo: PW/Scott Marshall