Keystone XL Pipeline: Unhook Unemployment Benefits
If Congress doesn't act soon, 1.8 million people will lose their modest unemployment insurance checks in January. Congress was on track to approve extending unemployment insurance, but that vote could fall apart over efforts to pressure the president to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline deal.
Congress could vote on this as soon as tomorrow. Please call your representative toll-free at 877-429-0678 and urge him or her to approve extending unemployment insurance and to keep that vote separate from any vote on the pipeline. See talking points at the end of this email to help you make your call.
With the unemployment rate still at 8.6% - a number that doesn't even include people who have given up and stopped looking for a job in this weak economy - failing to extend these benefits could have serious consequences for millions of families. These modest benefits are helping many people keep food on the table and a roof over their heads while they look for work. An estimated 6 million unemployed people will get very modest financial help next year through the extension of unemployment insurance. It is critical that Congress extend these benefits.
Congress should not hold these benefits hostage to an environmentally damaging pipeline. The president has delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline because of popular mobilizations by tens of thousands of people who warned that this project would endanger the nation's largest aquifer and agriculturally productive ecosystems. Congress needs to pass unemployment benefits and oppose the pipeline. Tying these two issues together is a recipe for confusion at best and disaster at worst.
Call your representative at 877-429-0678. Ask for your representative by name and then use these talking points when you reach their office.
Hello, my name is ______________ and I live in Representative ___________'s district.
I am calling to urge _______________ to extend unemployment insurance benefits through 2012 and not cut off six million families who can't find jobs.
I also want to urge ________ not to make a deal that ties unemployment insurance to the Keystone XL pipeline that will bring climate-destroying fuel here from Canada. That pipeline has nothing to do with unemployment insurance, and it shouldn't be built anyway.
Please tell _____________ that I strongly urge Congress to act now to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits through 2012. Thank you.
Associate Executive Secretary for Campaigns
P.S. For more, read this blog by program assistant April Mays on unemployment insurance and what it means to alleviate poverty.