Dems Rally to Push Jobless Benefits

VERY CROWDED EVENT. House Democrats held a large rally (not a press conference…) for unemployment insurance in the U.S. Capitol today at 1:30PM. The push was led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Sandy Levin, Charlie Rangel, Jim McDermott and John Lewis who are all members of House Ways and Means.  Other members talking loudly for unemployment benefits were Bobby Scott, Barbara Lee, Rosa DeLauro and Jim McDermott.  At the event were union members from Washington DC and those struggling to find unemployment across the country.  I was there focused on the 99ers and so was Rep. Barbara Lee.  Lee has a bill that would extend their benefits and she mentioned their problem today.  The Senate GOP has been quiet.  Unemployed people who spoke and attended the event spent the day lobbying members of Congress and their staff on the issue in person.

Interestingly so has President Obama.  Today President Obama was in Scranton today where he talked about a payroll tax extension but not unemployment benefits being extended.  However, when I asked Rep. Sander Levin about this, he told me he spoke with the White House TODAY and that they support an extension.  We should be hearing something from the President as soon as next week apparently and Levin said they are solidly onboard (I was starting to wonder…). Congress only has 16 days left on the schedule in December. Sen Ton Harkin loudly said “there will be no Christmas for Congress” if an unemployment extension is not passed.