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Last week, obstructionists in Congress blocked legislation which would have extended unemployment insurance for 1.2 million Americans. What does this mean? This week 1.2 million families are wondering how they are going to feed their children and stay in their homes. [1]

It doesn't have to be this way.

Tell your representatives in Congress that America can't afford to leave families in the lurch and can't afford to threaten the fragile economic recovery that's just beginning to take hold.

What's happening?  Last month, Congress made a devastating decision to allow the programs of extended unemployment benefits and healthcare for the unemployed to lapse. Then last week, again, obstructionists in Congress blocked this critical extension, and as many as 1.2 million workers were cut off of unemployment benefits at the end of last week, at least 140,000 workers lost out on subsidized healthcare through the subsidy of COBRA benefits, and an estimated 900,000 more people will lose their jobs in 2011. [2]

Families are in crisis.  We need to make our voices heard loud and clear in order to increase support in Congress for the extension of these critical programs!

Failing to extend these programs isn’t just cruel; it endangers the nation’s future. Limiting our spending on programs which help families stay afloat threatens the economic recovery and doesn't do much to reduce our future deficit. [3]

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."[4]  Further, Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics predicts that if state governments don't get additional help from the federal government, there will be hundreds of thousands of job losses which will be a significant drag on any economic progress that we have made. [5]

Tell your representatives in Congress to get this done now. Saving jobs and services is what will keep our economic recovery going. And it will reduce the national debt in the long term.

Have you or someone you know lost a job in this recession?Right now, it's more important than ever that Congress understands what real families are going through in the current economic climate. That's why we're joining organizations all over the country to gather stories about how the great recession is affecting families. Tell us your story about how difficult it remains to find a job right now and how important unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies are for you and your family. We'll share these stories with Congress and with the media so folks understand that the recession is still affecting families.

* Click here to share a story: Even if you have shared your story before, please take a minute to update it now.

And please pass along this note to family and friends so they can take action too. So many families in our communities are still suffering from the impact of the recession. It's time for us to take a stand that the economic security of real people, and real families, must be our nation's number one priority!

Thank you for your work on behalf of our nation's families.

-- Julia, Donna, Kristin, Julissa, Anita, Mary, and the MomsRising Team

P.S. Don't forget to share (and update) your stories here:

[1] Andrew Taylor, Republicans kill Senate jobless aid measure

[2] Failing to Extend Fiscal Relief to States Will Create New Budget Gaps,Forcing Cuts and Job Loss in at Least 34 States,

[3] Paul Krugman, Now and Later

[4] Shahien Nasiripour, Bernanke Warns Congress Not To Cut Spending, Cautions About 'Fragile' Recovery

[5] Fight over states' Medicaid help heats upStates begging Congress for $24B Medicaid bailout

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