Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tier 5 Unemployment Emissaries Are Being Dispatched To Washington, H.R. 4213 May Be Coming To Final Passage, & For Millions, H.R. 4213 Currently Does Not Help Them

As most know, a vote will happen this week on H.R. 4213, American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010.  The vote is currently planned to be a simple reconciliation vote at this point and it would be a little unorthodox if any amendments were introduced. 

However, the longest term unemployed are hoping and praying, wishing and lobbying, calling US Representatives and petitioning for an amendment despite how inconvenient it may be for the procedure or the political unpopularity.

There are so many unemployed who would love to see an amendment to this bill that would also extend the weeks of benefits that are currently available which are federally funded.  This legislation has already passed the House of Representatives once and the United States Senate has added amendments.  The United States Senate gave their last vote on this on 3/31/2010.  It is not the fault of the unemployed that the Congress and Senate overlooked this need.  However, long term unemployed might have done more had we began our SOS Attacks and petitioning in February, perhaps.  The problem at that time was that so many did not know that this bill does not include assistance for those exhausting benefits.  It is to the advantage of the jobless to remain united as the unemployment crisis is not over yet.  The economy has only just began to show any substantial amounts of growth for job creation.  If the recession is factually over according to economists and the pill that we swallowed for the Stimulus Act indeed made an impact and reversed the economy then the side-effects of that legislative pill are just as bad as the recession itself for far too many millions.

Many jobless Americans began their efforts in early March to communicate to this Congress as they learned that H.R.4213 does not help the needs of the longest term jobless.  Tier 5 Activists began this in a very respectful and civilized order.  First with sending emails and calling their elected representatives to simply ask them to add an amendment to this bill.  After that seemed to have little impact in the beginning days, we all sat out on our own initiatives to get our voices heard to Congress. The online petition to Congress began on multiple sites (all are still ongoing), however the Change.org petition found at http://www.99erspetition.com/ caught the eye and respect from WorldNewsVine, the Rochester Unemployment Examiner, Michael Thornton, Gather's Mike Rheaume, and MLive.com also broke the news in the beginning of this movement discussing the efforts of so many by reporting on the Unemployed Will Be Heard campaign.  If any news credit was left out it was not intentional.  This information is simply what is chronicled in the US Unemployed Blogsite's Archives and it is certainly possible a source was overlooked by accident.  However, the long term unemployed will give credit to anyone and everyone out there who is willing to take up their message and report information factually as it is known.

The unemployed need to understand that these sources are great but they are not mainstream press yet.  We can certainly make them mainstream by staying loyal to their news articles first and helping these sources stay strong by visiting their sponsors and posting our feedback and thanks to the contributors and the Editors.  Currently these sources mentioned are the only few willing to take up our cause and the longest term unemployed should be thankful to all of them.  Personally, this blogger plans to go steps further and help spread the word about these sources and their excellent reporting on other issues.  It stands to reason that if these sources can cover with such detail the needs of all unemployed they are covering the full story on other issues that impact our lives as well.

WorldNewsVine was able to do something for us over the weekend and regardless of the outcome we should all be grateful for their effort to try.  As some know WorldNewsVine has offered to help hand deliver Issa Decker's 99er petition to members of Congress this week as a result of a Web-A-Thon that was held over the weekend asking for donations to go to Washington, D.C. and submit the message of the longest term unemployed in person and for the very modest donation price of just over $1,000.  Anyone who has ever had to visit the nation's Capitol should take a look at hotel room rates and the daily parking fees in D.C.  The cost of $1,000 was a bargain.  We are all anxiously awaiting the news from WorldNewsVine about more details of their trip to Washington, D.C. but we must be realistic.  There is only so much that these brave persons can do but the long term unemployed are better off to have tried this before the upcoming vote on H.R. 4213 than to not.  Before this vote, there is the opportunity to hand deliver professional copies of over 27,000 signatures for the public record and make a last ditch attempt to express the dire need of urgency to members of Congress.

The longest-term unemployed are sending these missionaries in hopes for answers and more comments on the record.  We are also sending them in hopes that action will be taken soon but there are no guarantees with anything in politics.  We may very well only learn what we already know and that there indeed is no political will to further combat opposing hypocrisy and obstruction. 

Congress needs to muster this political will with the urgency it deserves.  Too many depend on this.

In addition to the plight of being stricken into poverty by many political factors, we have to stay abreast to current events or we lose credibility for what we need to accomplish. United States legislatures are still in need of tackling issues with Immigration, Financial Reform, a Supreme Court nominee to confirm or deny, legislation on Climate Change and Energy, and don't forget about the 2011 Budget and other domestic issues that are currently dominating headlines such as the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf Coast and foreign affairs such as maintaining the wars in Afghanistan and the Iraq war which seems to be finally coming to an end.  If I counted those issues that this Congress needs to handle before the year's end I get a total of at least eight very large-scale and somewhat controversial ticket items. 

No matter what your position is on these issues, it is absolute fact that the 111th United States Congress will want these issues at least started or completed before the end of this year. 

It makes sense and is in the favor of the long term unemployed if this Congress is going to extend the weeks available for benefits that they do so as soon as possible with this many "legislative balls".  (That was an actual term used by an unnamed Congressional staffer for those who don't know).

It just makes sense to most unemployed that Congress finds the money and time to quickly amend H.R. 4213 so that additional weeks of benefits are available for those who are exhausted and who have exhausted their benefits.  That is, if they intend to do it.  Yes, we realize that it would need to go back for the Senate for a large fight again but this is needed and it is an emergency or so many would not be demanding it now.

OpenCongress.org offers detailed tracking of this bill at:  http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h4213/show

This bill is not yet law as it still requires reconciliation in the United States House of Representatives and the signature of the President of the United States.  Congress, there is still an opportunity to amend this bill - regardless of how politically unpopular that may be.  This bill in it's current form is a good effort as it does extend the dates for tiers which already exist, it extends ARRA provisions that allowed for the $25 raises for unemployment and $15 for dependents, it extends the dates for COBRA benefits, it extends adjustments to Medicare payments and includes tax cuts.  It's a great bill; however, it has nothing to benefit those who exhausted all tiers of benefits available to them and are jobless right now and still cannot find work.  To be honest, this bill really does do a lot for the jobless but if you are unemployed and have exhausted your benefits - this bill means nothing to you.

The current estimated cost of this bill is $140 billion dollars.  ($80 billion goes to just extending the dates for the existing tiers of unemployment).  This is the current cost without extending the available weeks and keeping this bill in its current form.  The main objection from advocates for a Tier 5 is the fact that this bill does not extend the number of weeks available nor does it add any new tier for unemployment benefits.  The main objections from those who oppose it seems to be that it adds to the national debt. 

This bill is excluded from the rules of PAYGO as there is emergency funding in the bill.  Adding additional weeks for the jobless who have lost their benefits is vital to the economy, Congress.  The long term unemployed have done more than their fair part in this effort.  The burden now falls on Congress to make this right. 

Well wishes to Issa Decker and the WorldNewsVine emissary who are going to attempt to get our message hand-delivered to Congress.  The attention of the current mainstream media should be covering this.  This effort is the most genuine and grassroots effort ever witnessed by this blogger in recent years and it deserves the press attention from mainstream news outlets. 

Everyone, please wish our ambassadors well on their journey to Washington, D.C. this week and please continue the fight!  Please stay clicked into these updates as we get updates throughout the week from the trusted news sources we have and keep your eye open for any updates to WorldNewsVine specifically. 

This is where the issue stands at the moment.  More updates and important information coming soon.

-Photos owned and taken by the Editor of this blog, Washington, D.C. Highway 1 Exit Sign going into D.C. and the United States Capitol Building immediately after sunset.
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