Allow a vote on unemployment benefits

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At a time when the average CEO makes almost 300 times more than his or her employees, I think it would be an unconscionable and callous decision for politicians in Washington to keep chipping away at America’s social safety net. If Republican’s are serious about reducing America’s deficit they should focus on restructuring our nation’s tax system, which strongly favors rich individuals and large corporations—we should not downsize America’s social safety net.

Conservatives often demonize our nation’s social programs by arguing they make people lazy and discourage them from working, but the facts do not support this. Opponents of social programs have used limited cases of illegal fraud and abuse to misguide some American’s into believing most people receiving social assistance are cheating the system. The truth is: unemployment support is temporary and only available to individuals who are actively looking for work. In addition, individuals who receive emergency unemployment assistance are only eligible to receive up to one half of their previous income and this amount is often less due to state caps on overall support. These payments only account for a fraction of what individuals would typically earn. Unemployment insurance benefits provide crucial support to hard working people who have temporarily fallen on hard times, allowing them to feed their families and keep their homes as they search for work.

Families across our country have been waiting since January for politicians in Washington to pass an extension of unemployment benefits and on April 7 the U.S. Senate passed legislation to extend the program. The bipartisan bill will extend unemployment benefits for almost three million Americans. Unfortunately, House Speaker John Boehner has indicated he will not allow members in the House of Representatives to vote on the bill, which would certainly pass. Call Speaker Boehner’s office and tell him to do the right thing.

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