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TAKE ACTION: Urge the Senate to vote no on slashing benefits to the unemployed

December 14, 2011
Action Alert!

Call your senators today: 1.866.584.1021

The U.S. House passed a bill to extend unemployment insurance (UI) and the payroll tax cut. But this version of unemployment insurance extension exacts a nasty price: It slashes the amount of UI benefits by 40 weeks! And further harms the jobless: requiring people to have finished high school (or getting their GED) to get UI, requiring drug testing for all UI applicants, and giving states authority to divert UI funds from providing cash benefits – the insurance payments the law provides for. Outrageous!

Unemployment benefits are of particular concern for LGBT people. As cited in Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, from the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, we know that transgender people are four times more likely to be living in a household income of less than $10,000. Also, with a lack of federal employment protection for LGBT people, according to a study published Oct. 4 in the American Journal of Sociology, openly gay men face substantial job discrimination in certain parts of the U.S. Overall, the study found that gay applicants were 40 percent less likely to be granted an interview than their heterosexual counterparts. Now is the time to support people in need by extending unemployment benefits, and continuing the payroll tax holiday.

Call your senators today and tell them to extend unemployment benefits and continue the payroll tax holiday 1.866.584.1021!

On Dec. 31, federal unemployment insurance will expire. This means 2 million people will lose UI in January alone. 

It is critically important that Congress acts before the deadline – and what’s needed is a simple extension of the current program. At a time when unemployment numbers for communities of color remain perilously high and the unemployment rate for black women is actually increasing, we cannot allow benefits to be cut!

If Congress fails to act, taxes on the middle class will increase and the jobless will lose benefits. The clock is running down, and Congress has so far been unable to agree on legislation. While Democrats are willing to tax the rich (income over $1 million) Republicans have so far refused and prefer to slash important federal programs. They are also trying to tie the extension to unrelated pieces of legislation just to bog down the process.

It’s time for Congress to do the right thing, call your senators at 1.866.584.1021 today and tell them:

  • We need an extension of unemployment benefits and an extension of the payroll tax holiday for another year.
  • Don’t slash unemployment insurance is – it would be unconscionable to leave millions of the jobless destitute – and outrageous to use a time of desperation to cut benefits and insult the unemployed.
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