by Colleen Rivecca
After months of debate, Congress still has not been able to pass a bill (H.R. 4213, The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010) that would extend Unemployment Insurance and would help support Medicaid and affordable housing programs.
The California Employment Development Department reports that as of June 22, 2010, there are 205,000 Californians who are in danger of running out of Unemployment Insurance benefits or who have already received their last check.
Not only do we need to advocate for the extension of Unemployment Insurance, medical care, and affordable housing funding, we have to tell Congress not to pay for these programs by cutting other vital services, like anti-hunger programs! (One of the ideas floating through the Senate last week was to pay for the Unemployment Insurance extension by cutting $9.5 billion from the Food Stamp program!) It’s unbelievable to me that the Senate would consider making this type of “Sophie’s Choice”, but I guess I feel that way because I work here at St. Anthony’s, where we take a holistic approach to helping people through rough times by offering free meals, employment assistance, medical care, free clothing, and more.
The Senate is expected to take up H.R. 4213 again after the Fourth of July recess. Once again, we have the opportunity to tell our Senators that we need to take action to promote the common good and help our struggling friends, neighbors, and community members.
Our friends at NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby have an email form here that makes it easy to contact your Senators and ask them to support H.R. 4213.