Action alerts

Emergency Unemployment Compensation

More than one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months, and their numbers rose in November over the previous two months. Despite that, Congress did not renew Emergency Unemployment Compensation before it expired on December 28. Between Christmas and New Year’s, 1.3 million people lost benefits, which average less than $270 per week. Each week nothing is done, another 72,000 more of the long-term jobless lose UI.

If Congress does not act to re-start the program, another 3.6 million people will lose access to benefits by the end of 2014.

In Michigan, 57,000 jobless workers lost benefits since Dec. 28 with 133,000 more slated to lose them in the next year. Michigan’s unemployment remains very high. At 8.4% in December, it was the fourth-highest in the country.

Please tell your U.S. Representatives that you want them to renew unemployment insurance and not leave millions of families out in the cold.  To send a message, click here.

In addition, please share these images on your social media networks:

Click to enlarge and download.

Also, you can thank Sens. Levin and Stabenow

Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have led the effort to extend emergency unemployment for workers who desperately need it. Help us thank them and reinforce the message that we need to continue this program in 2014, and while unemployment remains high.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. Email Senators Levin and Stabenow to thank them and urge them to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

Senator Levin: https://www.levin.senate.gov/contact/email/

Senator Stabenow: http://www.stabenow.senate.gov/?p=contact

Sample language to use:

Dear Senator,

I thank you for your efforts to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. As you know, unemployment benefits give jobless workers a fighting chance in a struggling economy, helps them feed their families and participate in the economy. I believe these benefits should be extended in 2014 and while there is still a need for them. When you return from your holiday break in January, I urge you to make a restoration of this program your first priority. Thank you for your time, and I wish you a happy holiday.

2. Speak up on Twitter and encourage others to speak up as well.

Sample tweets:

• Thanks @SenCarlLevin @Stabenow for making jobless benefits a priority in 2014. We need to extend emergency #unemployment for MI workers!
• @SenCarlLevin @Stabenow MI workers thank you for making emergency #unemployment benefits a priority. Let’s extend them in 2014!
• Thanks to @SenCarlLevin @Stabenow for your hard work to extend emergency #unemployment benefits. Let’s make this a priority in 2014!

Updated 1/30/14


Food Assistance at Risk

Congress is debating proposals that could leave hundreds of thousands in Michigan, including children, seniors and veterans, without food assistance. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has a lead role in these debates and she needs to hear from you. The alternative to these harmful proposals is the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill agreement on SNAP. Please let Sen. Stabenow know that you support her efforts to pass the Senate version.

Two more ways to help:

  • Tell us your story of how food assistance has helped you, your family, your clients or your community.
  • Send a letter to the editor. If you haven’t done that before and want some guidance, contact jputnam@mlpp.org. Please see samples below. Please rewrite them in your own voice.

Sample letters to the editor:

Sample 1
Michigan families should not have to choose between paying their rent and feeding their children. That’s what could happen next year if harsh reductions in the food program called SNAP (formerly food stamps) are approved by Congress.

A conference committee is considering a U.S. House plan to cut nearly $40 billion over 10 years from food assistance. A more reasonable bipartisan plan passed by the U.S. Senate would be far less damaging.
These cuts are on top of Nov. 1 reductions in food assistance that were due to the expiration of modest increases passed during the recession.

SNAP is an effective anti-hunger program that does exactly what it is intended to do – helping more people in harsh times to combat poverty and unemployment. As economic times improve, the program will shrink. Cutting this vital lifeline now could jeopardize Michigan’s fragile economic recovery.

Sample  2
It’s sadly ironic that cuts to federal food assistance are on the table as we approach Thanksgiving. A U.S. House plan in conference committee would take away food from the hungry in Michigan at a time when unemployment is the fourth-highest in the country.

A House plan pushes states to cut food aid to entire families even where breadwinners are willing to work but cannot find jobs or training. And more than 200,000 childless adults (40 percent of them female) who live on an average of $2,500 a year would no longer receive help with nutrition even though they may want to work but can’t find jobs.

The bipartisan plan by the U.S. Senate also includes cuts but is far less damaging. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a key player in the conference, has been a champion for the hungry in Michigan. I urge her to please stand strong for people in Michigan who need this very basic and vital assistance.

Sample 3

We can’t afford to jeopardize Michigan’s fragile economic recovery by cutting food assistance – it’s bad for the economy and bad for people.

A proposed spending plan for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP would take away food from thousands of Michigan children, low-income elderly, those with disabilities, low-wage workers and veterans.

The U.S. House plan pushes states to cut food assistance to entire families even where breadwinners are willing to work but cannot find jobs or training. And more than 200,000 very low-income adults in Michigan (40 percent of them female) would no longer receive help with nutrition even as many remain jobless and live on an average of $2,500 a year.

These cuts come on top of $183 million reduction in Michigan in 2014 for food assistance as modest increases passed during the recession expire.

Congress needs to support this effective anti-hunger program to protect our fragile economic recovery and help families in Michigan.

Posted 10/30/13

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Older action alerts

Protect SNAP from harsh cuts Sept. 5, 2013

U.S. Tax reform July 16, 2013