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Congressional stand off on unemployment benefits, payroll tax hike, and
What IS going on in Washington these days? Not enough given what needs to happen by the weekend!
With millions of Americans--whether currently working or temporarily unemployed--at risk, what are members of Congress discussing?
Shutting down the government…Again!
This is the third time this year that Congress has “danced on the edge of catastrophe.” What makes this one more acute is that leaders are in a simultaneous standoff about these two other major pieces of legislation-whether to extend pay roll taxes and unemployment coverage.
At this moment, both sides are at odds about how to pay for extension of a payroll tax reduction for almost every worker-- something that both sides claim to want. They have only until the end of the year to work it out. Most economists say this tax increase would further damage the nation's fragile economic health by taking money out of consumers' pockets.
If an agreement on the spending bill does not come by midnight Friday, the government will be unable to pay any of its bills unless Congress tries to buy time by passing another temporary financing bill.
Call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free (1) at 1-800-826-3688
Ask for your House member (see references below) along Senators Portman and Brown
A quicker but less effective alternative is to email or call them or call directly (references)
After identifying yourself, tell them to stop this stop this "foolishness" (of course, use you own words) and get on with governing by passing all three measures immediately! Add any comments showing your understanding of these issues and express your compassion with civility and yet passion.
Congress is trying to do unfinished business before they leave for their holiday recess. If they do not act, federal unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless will expire; so will the payroll tax cut for workers. With the clock running down, Congress has so far been unable to agree on legislation.
Democrats have proposed to pay for the cost of extending the payroll tax cut by imposing a surtax on income over $1 million. Most Republicans have insisted on paying for extended benefits by cutting programs. They have also sought to get other policy changes as their price for help for the middle class and the jobless. The House leadership bill, H.R. 3630, seeks quick approval of the Keystone oil pipeline and delays emission-control standards, despite serious environmental concerns.
The bill also makes cuts in health care provisions that are part of the Affordable Care Act (the new health insurance law), and makes the deficit reduction caps on federal spending even tighter (cuts to remain within the tighter caps are supposed to come from freezing federal employees' pay for another year).
It is very important that Representatives and Senators hear from you NOW.
Situation Here (especially with on-the-edge American families)
The sobering consequence of non-passage of this legislation is that the livelihood of millions of American is at stake. Just-released latest census data reveals:
nearly one-half of American have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
Mayors in 29 cities say more than 1 in 4 people needing emergency food assistance did not receive it.
Many middle-class Americans are dropping below the low-income threshold because of pay cuts, a forced reduction of work hours or a spouse losing a job.
Housing and child-care costs are consuming up to half of a family's income.
Paychecks for low-income families are shrinking. The inflation-adjusted average earnings for the bottom 20 percent of families have fallen, earnings for the next 20 percent have remained flat while, in contrast, higher-income brackets had significant wage growth since with the top 5 percent of families climbing 64 percent.
U.S. House of Representatives:
Locate your member
Contact your member:
Contact Senators Portman and Brown
Congress Takes Up a Partisan Battle, Again, Over Spending, New York Times
Senate leaders signal progress toward avoiding tax hike, CNN Politics
Tell Congress to Extend
Unemployment Insurance Before it Expires in December, Coalition for Human Needs
200,000 Ohioans could lose unemployment benefits, Advocates for Ohio's Future
Congress debates payroll tax cut, government funding omnibus, Washington Post
[haho] 'Dismal' prospects: 1 in 2 Americans are now poor or low income. Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks: