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Washington, DC (Oct 2) – Beth, one of the 99ers who is very upset after seeing S3706 blocked this week, says “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I do not understand what they are thinking. There are millions of people without any money but all they care about is elections. They have all lost my vote. I hope that everyone feels that way. If no one would vote maybe then they would get the message.”
Senator Stabenow introduced Senate Bill S3706 to extend unemployment benefits creating a tier V that would have benefited the long term unemployed but when the bill was brought to the floor, Senator George LeMieux of Florida objected stating “Republican members were unclear as to how much the legislation would cost and how it would be paid for”. These benefits called “Americans Want to Work Act” would benefit states with unemployment rates above 7.5%. The Democrats won’t agree to use TARP funds to pay for extended benefits even though some banks have paid back a large portion of the money they borrowed. September 3rd AIG stated they reached a deal to pay back the Federal Reserve Bank of New York nearly $46 billion TARP taxpayer bailout funds. So, the long term unemployed are left without an extension.
The fight between Republicans and Democrats in Congress is not going unnoticed by the unemployed. Congress should take a strong look at the number of unemployed construction workers. At least 25% nationwide and 50% in the high unemployment states are unemployed. What if they decide they just are not going to vote?
A majority of the long-term unemployed is over 50 and we know this group votes but will they vote this November? This country is in a mess and Congress is fighting. Even if they did pass S3706 and eventually the jobs came back, millions of Americans have lost their homes, their credit, their cars, and depleted their savings. Due to financial hardships, some even lost their family.
Many Americans will never recover from this recession. Congress turned their backs on the American people and cannot identify with the long term unemployed because most of them are financially stable and even if they do get voted out in November, they have income for the rest of their lives, paid for by the taxpayer!
Another 99er wrote, “They used to argue that receiving unemployment benefits kept us from looking for work! Well, news flash, we (99ers) have been without benefits for 7 months now, so now what is their excuse? These people are incredible! If we were living in another country and going hungry and homeless, they would send billions to help, without a second thought and with American working class tax money! But, American working class tax money can’t help unemployed working class? What happened to patriotism? Or appreciation for those that paid taxes for 3 and 4 decades? Do we suddenly not count because they took our jobs and we can’t pay? Guess what, even with unemployment benefits we paid taxes and spent money to help the economy.”
No one knows the exact number of unemployed 99ers we have but it’s in the millions and S3706 would have given another 20 weeks of benefits to those who have been without any income for months.
In order to overcome LeMieux’s objection to doing this under unanimous consent, the Democrats would have to invoke cloture with 60 votes as they have done in the past, but Congress is vacationing, Democrats and Republicans. They are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars while the unemployed go homeless and hungry. Some think the unemployed are lazy and do not want to work but do not realize these people had to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
They could not have quit their jobs, or gotten fired or they would not be eligible for benefits. These working class people paid taxes and now cannot support their families. Many have lost their homes and until jobs come back this tiny bit of income from unemployment benefits would have allowed them to hold on to some small amount of dignity they still had.
So go home Congress and campaign but you had better calculate the outcome if the polls open on that cold November day and no one shows up.
Brenda Hyatt – WorldNewsVine