Don't allow the premature release of the deficit commission report create a diversion away from the urgent problem of unemployment benefits extensions. The diary below contains a link to the AFL-CIO petition and a description of the current status of the extensions.
The AFL-CIO petition is located at:
Please sign it and use the fowarding mechanism to send it on to friends.
If you can't reach the link, try AFL-CIO Working America Unemployment Extensions petition in a search engine.
The emergency extensions program is scheduled to end November 30 unless Congress votes to extend it. Congress has been on recess since the beginning of October and will return next week for only four days before Thanksgiving break.
That's all the time we have left before the program expires.
Different states are reacting to this differently.
California will continue people on the extensions they have on or before Nov. 30, so benefits will be paid on the current extension beyond Nov. 30, but people can't go on to the new extension.
The Washington State ESD website states that they don't expect the program to continue so they are shutting down the extension operation on Nov. 30.
99ers have no eligibility for future extensions at this time.
The AFL-CIO Working America Main Street blog states that the number of people unemployed for longer than 6 months is 6.2 million. They reported that 9.5 million people used the extension program.
I have read estimates like 3 million as the number of people who will lose their benefits on November 30.
In the state of California alone the number of people immediately affected by the expiration of the program is 550,000. I.e., there are 550,000 people currently receiving extensions in California.
Here is the status of the bill in the Senate. It is in the Senate finance committee and Sen. Max Baucus, the chair, has not released it even for a hearing. It doesn't even have a hearing scheduled and there are four days left before the expiration. We have to call the usual members of the finance committee: Conrad, Baucus, Snowe, Kyl, Hatch and tell them personal stories about the unemployed. I am telling their offices about the 60 year old American women living in cars in the community where I live. The moderate Democrats who need to be called are Schumer and Cantwell. Menendez is on the committee. He supports both the renewal of the extension program and a new Tier V for the 99ers. I have not called Rockefeller's office yet. I have called Reid's office repeatedly - have not received a definitive answer, but right now it is in Baucus' hands.
This needs to get on the floor and passed and we have six days left. Or the Congress has to cancel some of the recess for the rest of November until this gets done.
I have to say that I am appalled by the way the Congress is playing chicken with people's lives over this issue and over the lack of advance planning dring the early fall, knowing that these recesses were going to occur. If there isn't an outcry, nothing will happen.