The House of Representatives yesterday evening passed a motion to adjourn the 111th Congress with no mention of H.R. 6556, the bill that would have provided unemployment benefits for the 99ers. The bill was sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA).
In an eloquent eulogy for tier 5, Michael Colliss laid into Lee, writing on the website All247News, “This latest disappointment to the 99ers was little more then an effort by a relatively unknown Congresswoman to get publicity. The 99ers have suffered – and are continuing to suffer – enough. This was a totally unnecessary, and in the opinion of this writer, basically cruel and insensitive effort by a person who did not care who she hurt to gain headlines. Considering the sad, unnecessary turmoil created by Congressman Barbara Lee of California, many unemployment advocates as well as 99ers are probably asking themselves, ‘With ‘friends’ like these who needs enemies?'”
Michael Colliss worked for 21 years as a staff member in Congress. He is now retired and works as a volunteer advocate for the 99ers.
The 112th Congress begins on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011. It is unlikely to pass legislation providing unemployment benefits for the 99ers. When asked about the future of the 99ers earlier this week, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the President intends to focus on job creation.
Colliss wrote of the 99ers, “There are at least 5 million hardworking Americans who have lost their job through no fault of their own during this the greatest economic crisis since the 1929 Great Depression and who have run out of benefits yet still been unable to find work. Every day millions of these “99ers” look for work in some job markets where new job openings may not even exist. These good and decent people, many of who have worked all their lives, have had to endure the loss of a job, a loss that they did nothing to incur. They have had to see loss of homes, loss of possessions and many of them for the first time in their lives have had to apply for assistance in the form of food stamps, assistance from food banks, and other social service agencies. Many of them have experienced depression and despair at almost debilitating levels. Many of them – despite not having done anything to cause their present circumstances – are feeling a loss of self worth and a loss of dignity. This is not a small group – it is a group that is growing by tens of thousands of people every single week. In the coming year it will become a crisis that will be even greater (if that is possible to imagine) than it is now in this week before Christmas, 2010.”
The following is part of an e-mail received from 99er Joseph in Nevada, the state with the highest unemployment in the nation:
“Job search? I wish there was a job that I could go in search of ! I live in the late great state of Nevada which is now just over 14% unemployment. Good luck trying to find anything remotely resembling a J O B. I am also one of those 99rs, or as Robert Gibbs recently described as “those guys” ( less than a footnote in his press conference! ) The thing that I don’t understand is this……Why, when President Obama had the momentum, in his great compromise with the politicos on the right, didn’t he add to the agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy/unemployment extension, an additional tier V for the sake of us 99R’s? … And pleeeeze don’t hand me the same old shtick about, if these forsaken few really wanted to find work, they could! I invite any of you with this attitude to please come to my state and just look around. What you will see is total devastation……..The highest home foreclosure rate in the country, the highest unemployment rate in the country, and the look of despair, which is unavoidable to see, in many just ordinary people.
Disgusted and depressed in Sin City……..But what the hell……Merry Christmas!!”
Read Naomi’s article on The New Lost Generation in The Guardian HERE.
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