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Unemployed Get Organized for a Lame-Duck Fight

October 19, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The last time Congress tried to extend unemployment insurance it took them 52 days to overcome Republican opposition and pass a bill, causing a six-week lapse in payments for millions of long-term unemployed (H.R.4213). The time before that it took 28 day and caused a ten-day lapse in payments (H.R.4851). Before that, Congress spent 43 days on a bill to add extra weeks, leaving millions of long-term unemployed without a lifeline for more than a month (H.R.3548).

The current federal unemployment insurance extension, which serves as a lifeline for approximately 8 million long-term unemployed workers right now, is scheduled to expire on November 30th. The Democrats are saying they will take up another extension bill when they come back into session after the mid-terms, but there will only be a dozen or so legislative days in the lame-duck session, and only four days between when they reconvene on Nov. 15th and when they adjourn for Thanksgiving on Nov. 19th. If recent history tells us anythings, it’s going to be a huge struggle for Congress to pass an extension before adjourning for the year in mid-December, let alone get it passed and signed into law it before benefits begin expiring on November 30th.

In the past, unemployed folks really only got active on getting extension bills passed through Congress after benefits had expired. This time, the National Employment Law Project is taking the smart step of getting out ahead by launching UnemployedWorkers.org, a multi-faceted campaign designed to rally support for an extension bill well before benefits expire so that there’s an activist infrastructure in place to push Congress on this the moment they come back into session.

You can sign their petition to Congress here, and, in addition to adding your name to their message, you’ll be kept in the loop as Congress comes back and call-in days and lobbying campaigns ramp up.

There are about 20 major pieces of legislation being considered for floor time in the lame-duck session, and it’s hard to predict what the dynamic in Congress is going to be after the election. For example, what happened if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV], who controls what gets voted on in the Senate, is defeated in the mid-terms? Does he scramble to pass a last legacy bill on food safety or renewable energy instead of spending the final days of his 24 year career fighting for a temporary extension of benefits for the unemployed folks that he has already spent a good deal of time fighting for? Incentives and motivations will change significantly depending n what happens on Nov. 2, so, if you care about there being a lifeline for the millions of long-term unemployed after Thanksgiving, the best thing you can do right now is start making as much noise about this as you can.

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Comments

kentata 01/08/2013 6:57am
in reply to updater Apr 26, 2012 5:00pm

How this can be done with business and share with others.
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marissa21r 11/03/2011 4:28pm

This was really a great article to say the least. I have enjoyed reading all of this interesting information. Executive leadership development Experts

Kerlynne 11/02/2010 10:43am

I have sent messages again to my senators and congress, though in Washington state we have some BIG issues with the incumbents and it could make a huge difference on wheather or not ANY of us get extended unemployment. I am actually missing the extended tiers by 3 days. I have signed the petition and sent it on to others. I gave up on writing to other states representivie as I was told they don’t pay attention to folks not in there state, even if it is a nation wide issue. I am dreading the holidays,and have started selling more of my things hoping to get food for the dogs and some bread, milk and eggs for myself. I so hate this. Maybe for christmas I can get a decent job??

Kerlynne 11/02/2010 10:36am
in reply to ExGOP Oct 26, 2010 3:41pm

EXGOP- I understand.Maybe you can do it for the rest of us that aren’t there yet so maybe we won’t have to??

ExGOP 10/26/2010 3:41pm

The petition fails to support the 99ers. I can’t sign it unless they include the 99ers.

Jess01869 10/25/2010 8:10pm

Last July was a headache…I can only expect the same thing again.i can remember when benefits were last extended and everyone began to ask “Then what happens in November?” That is what I am asking now. There still aren’t enough jobs being created. Oddly enough I suddenly have an extra $61 in my unemployment benefits that I did not have 2 weeks and 2 days ago when I made my payment request before this last Sunday’s. I have $1,061 left in my account which means my last payment request will be Sunday December 5th for $25. That is $25 and just 7 days shy of the deadline preventing me from moving into the next tier and preventing me from being homeless. The only potential of a job that I found here is 2 days a week @ $7.25 an hour…and the position was immediately filled with 8 known people that applied for it. There are a lot of people suffering and will more than likely continue to suffer through the holidays unless the deadline is extended.

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