We're about to see benefits for the jobless expire in a period of high unemployment -- for the first time in 50 years. And Republicans are the only ones to blame.
It isn't just wrong -- it's wrong-headed.
Conservatives in the Senate have been at this for weeks -- abusing the rules to block Democrats from passing legislation. Their filibuster means millions of people lose their unemployment checks, and the entire economy suffers because of it.
All the polling suggests that the American people overwhelmingly support extending benefits and doing it now. But the conservatives aren't getting the message. So I've written a letter that calls for them to stop their obstruction and let the Senate vote on benefits for the jobless -- will you sign with me?
If thousands of us stand together and issue the same call, we'll focus attention on this issue -- in D.C. and across the country. Reporters will take notice, and more voters will rightly point to the GOP as the cause for this nightmare. In other words, we'll send a message that can't be ignored.
And movement on these benefits can't come a moment too soon. Almost half of our jobless have been out of work for more than 26 weeks -- that's the highest level we've seen for long-term unemployment since the Great Depression. And because of the Republicans, about 33 people lose their benefits every minute.
Just about every expert will tell you the same thing: Unemployment benefits help the entire economy. In order to collect benefits, you have to demonstrate that you have been looking for work. While you look, they keep bills paid, put fuel in the car, and ensure that families don't suffer when there aren't enough jobs to go around -- things that keep the economy from shrinking even more. And at a time when there are five unemployed workers for every job opening, that's something we just can't afford.
So let's all stand together to send a very loud and pointed message to Republicans. Sign this open letter and help us create the kind of national outcry it will take to shame the GOP into letting us vote on unemployment benefits:
Donna Brazile Vice Chair for Voter Registration and Participation Democratic National Committee
Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Democratic National Committee, 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003
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