Just about three weeks ago, a local MoveOn representative organized an "Invest In America Speak Out" event at the local office of our Congresswoman, Nita Lowey. Rep. Lowey wasn't able to meet with us, but her District Director did. At the event, I was able to hand deliver a letter asking Rep. Lowey to co-sponsor H.R. 589.
Today, I received Rep. Lowey's response, which I've quoted in full below. (text highlights mine)
Thank you for contacting me regarding unemployment benefits. I appreciate the benefit of your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.
On December 17, 2010, I voted for the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. The law extends expanded unemployment benefits for thirteen months for laid-off workers, up to a maximum of 99 weeks of assistance. The previous extended benefit program expired on November 30, and the new law makes the benefits retroactive.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found extending unemployment compensation to be one of the most cost-effective and fast-acting ways to stimulate the economy, creating up to $1.90 in economic activity for every dollar in unemployment benefits. The Economic Policy Institute has calculated that unemployment benefits have been responsible for creating 1.1 million jobs since the recession started.
For those who have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits, rest assured that I am doing everything I can to grow the economy and create jobs. There have been twelve consecutive months of job growth, which has added 1.5 million private sector jobs. However, millions of Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, which is why I will continue to support an extension of unemployment benefits and other investments to help get more Americans back to work.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. If you would like more information on this or other issues, or to sign up for my regular e-newsletter, visit my website at www.lowey.house.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help you in any way.
Member of Congress
Was it a committment to co-sponsor the bill? Unfortunately, no... at least, not in so many words. The good news is that Rep. Lowey's office replied. The better news is that they replied favorably.
Now It's Your Turn
I need your help. I need each of you reading this blog post to write to your Representative. If and when they respond, please post their response here in the comments section. If they don't respond, please let us know that, too. Bear in mind that it took three weeks to get this response. I expect that's typical. I'd like to get as many responses on the record as we can.