Due to the unemployment crisis and Congress taking action on it this week, labor and progressive groups are organizing phone calls to the Capitol and holding a Wednesday rally there featuring unemployed workers and supportive Democratic members of Congress.
Thursday, Americans United for Change begin airing TV ads to make the case that the GOP alone is responsible for the cancelled unemployment benefits. [See Politico's article White House unemployment benefits push kicks into high gear]
Kelly Wetslund has written the following letter about the unemployment crisis:
My name’s Kelly Westlund, and my family’s relied on unemployment benefits before.
My husband is a carpenter. When Wall Street banks tanked our economy and crashed the housing market, there just wasn’t a lot of demand for the homes my husband specialized in building.
We needed unemployment benefits for several months to make ends meet.
Today, I’m on my local City Council and I’m running for Congress in Wisconsin. The issue of unemployment benefits is personal for me.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote today on whether to extend unemployment benefits.
Republicans in Congress may block unemployment benefits.
My Tea Party Congressman, Sean Duffy, says he “struggles” to get by on $174,000 a year. That’s how out of touch they are.
I know that when that check comes in, families immediately use it to buy groceries and pay utility bills and put gas in the car. They’re reinvesting those dollars in our communities.
Protecting these earned benefits (and, I’d add, increasing the minimum wage) would create real economic growth that just doesn’t happen when rich people get more tax cuts.
Progressives know this. So do the majority of the American people, according to multiple polls.
The only question is whether Republicans hear loudly enough that the public is paying attention — and Democrats in Congress get enough encouragement to keep fighting until they win.
Families in the same position that mine once was will thank you. I do too.
– Kelly Westlund
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