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Must See Video: Lifeline

Jeremy Sprinkle
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The face of the unemployed in crisis

On November 30th, Congress allowed emergency unemployment benefits to expire. Here are the faces and stories of those Americans most affected by the inaction of Congress.

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Jobless benefits are a lifeline to the unemployed. "It put a little groceries on the table and pay a few bills," says North Carolina Autoworker, Tony Hawkins, who appears in the video. Tony has been out of work since October 2008: "Without the unemployment, I probably wouldn't have a home."

We need to generate as many calls to Congress as possible on the immediate need to restore emergency unemployment benefits.  The number to call is 1-877-662-2889. Call every day until the benefits are restored, Hawkins urges:

"And keep calling them and telling them, 'Look, we elected you. So please, help your people'."

State Fed calls for Congress to put working people above politics

In two separate op-eds published in the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Greensboro News & Record this week, NC State AFL-CIO President James Andrews urged Congress to act quickly to restore emergency jobless benefits, which expired on November 30.

Over two million Americans unemployed through no fault of their own and "on the brink of destitution stand to lose the only thing allowing them to buy groceries and pay their rent," said Andrews in the News & Record:

"Financial help for the unemployed has been an accepted and,  until recently, a bipartisan strategy in fighting recessions since the 1930s. Jobless benefits keep people out of poverty, reducing government spending on food stamps and Medicaid.

"Families receiving unemployment benefits have no choice but to spend them on needed goods like rent and groceries, propping up the consumer spending the economy needs.

"This influx of cash keeps unemployment from getting worse. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute calculates close to 500,000 jobs depend on a benefits extension."

The hypocrisy of those in Congress who are demanding the cost to extend jobless benefits be completely offset by spending cuts while being eager to renew Bush's millionaire tax cuts without regard for the budget-busting consequences cannot go unnoticed.