Skip to main content
Donna's picture

Congress, can you answer this question?

When I heard that Congress had failed to pass the extension of unemployment insurance benefits last night, all I could think about was the question posed earlier this week from a mom in Indiana:

"How will my family live now that the unemployment is going to get cut?"

And so I ask the 38 U.S. Senators who voted against extending unemployment insurance: What is your answer?

Think quickly -- because an estimated 1.7 million people are asking that very question this week as their unemployment insurance is cut off. And struggling families across the nation want and deserve an answer.

All week long, stories from MomsRising members have been streaming in, sharing the agony of parents who don't know how they will care for their children when their unemployment insurance is cut off. People like:

Autumn from West Virginia:

"My husband lost his job in the winter of 2009. He had been collecting unemployment benefits since then, until Friday, June 24, 2010. He has applied for jobs everywhere, but has not gotten any call backs. He has been told by a few places that he was OVER QUALIFIED, for a few jobs. We have two children, one 6 and one 2. Our 2 year old son was diagnosed with Leukemia in November of 2009, just 3 days after his 2nd birthday. We are focused on getting our son better and were keeping current with all of our bills, including a mortgage, until now. Now, we aren't sure what will happen. We will be depending solely on the state for assistance and are going to fall behind on our mortgage.
We were in no way using the unemployment as a crutch to lean on, it was our only source of income while my husband looked for work. We are thankful for the help we received because of the unemployment, but with out it, I am afraid to see what will come of not only our family, but the millions of others this will affect negatively!!"

and Jolie from Illinois:

"I lost my job in social services in May and then my husband lost his job in health care in June. We have three children who have given up given up vacation, sports camps, and TV. My middle child has special needs and was supposed to have tutoring over the summer which we had to cancel and I am doing on my own at home. Further, we have both had to cash in our retirement plans just to get by until at least one of us is able to find a new job. The help for COBRA ended May 31 and our children were on my husband's health insurance. So, of course, we cannot afford COBRA or other health insurance and now our whole family is uninsured."

and a MomsRising member who asked to remain anonymous:

"On April 17, 2009, I was laid off from my six figure job at a bank. I received a four week severance and thought that along with the money I had saved that I would be ok until I found a new job. Fast forward 16 months later, and I am still unemployed. Now it will be almost impossible for me to find a job at a bank because my credit is so bad. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I am online constantly trying to find a new job, not only with a bank but any other position I can find. My house is dangerously close to foreclosure, I stopped paying my credit cards months ago. I can barely pay for the electricity, gas, water and food for my son.
 I receive less than $2,000 in unemployment per month. My benefits have almost been exhausted. I never thought that I would be in this situation at this time of my life. I honestly don't know what to do. If my unemployment runs out, well, I don't even want to think about that."

You can read hundreds more similarly heartbreaking stories here.

Clearly, families across America are being pushed to the edge. They, like our incipient economic recovery, are in grave danger. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently sent a message to lawmakers that our nascent economic recovery is "still pretty fragile" and cautioned that the economy "may need more assistance."

Let's not turn back the clock on our economic recovery. Too many lives and communities are at stake. Too many children are at risk. Too many families are still left asking:

"How will my family live now that the unemployment is going to get cut?"

Members of Congress, America waits for your answer.

To send a letter to Congress now, click here.

To share your own story, click here.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!