Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CALL CONGRESS to support short-term economic recovery package

I hardly know what to think about the current economic crisis. But I offer this advocacy action from RESULTS, an organization that always has the best interests of Americans in poverty in mind...

Since last January, RESULTS and its allies have been pushing for a short-term economic recovery package that would serve two purposes: to help those most in need in this economic downturn and jump start the economy. On Friday, the House passed its version of the economic recovery package (H.R.7110) 264 to 158. Earlier last Friday, the Senate economic recovery package failed to get the 60 votes needed to proceed. The vote was 52 to 42. The House package includes state fiscal relief, including an increased federal match for state Medicaid programs, a temporary boost in food stamps, Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and extension of unemployment benefits.

We are hearing a lot about another economic recovery package, but this one focuses on Wall Street banks, not the poor. Over the weekend, leaders of both parties in the house and Senate announced agreement on a plan to buy up “toxic” securities from financial firms in an effort to turn the tide of the recent economic upheaval. The original Bush plan was essentially a blank check to Wall Street, with little or no protection for taxpayers (who are footing the bill), an unprecedented expansion of power for the Secretary of the Treasury, preclusion of any congressional or judicial oversight, and no guarantee that it will work. The House rejected a modified plan 205-228 yesterday and it’s not clear what will happen next on Capitol Hill.

RESULTS is working with many national, state, and local groups to say yes to fixing the economic mess by passing an economic recovery package like that passed by the House last Friday, but no to a blank check for Wall Street. Congress is under tremendous pressure to act this week and we must push for inclusion of help for everyday families through passage of an economic recovery package as a part of any deal.

TAKE ACTION — SEND A LETTER TO YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER TODAY: Adapt this sample letter (also available in our online Media Alert) and send it off to the editor of your paper:

Congress must act to avoid an economic catastrophe, one that is real for millions of families already. But it must fix the problem, not perpetuate it through no-strings-attached handouts. An effective solution means getting something back for the billions that taxpayers will have to pay to bail out Wall Street. It means oversight of who gets the billions and how the funds are used, as well as compensation limits on executives who profit from this crisis. It means helping homeowners and renters caught up in the foreclosure crisis. And it means protecting millions of Americans who are losing jobs and cannot afford necessities because of a crisis not of their own making by boosting Food Stamp benefits, Medicaid assistance, heating help and unemployment insurance. Unfortunately, economic recovery legislation that would help low-income families by investing more in Food Stamps and Medicaid is stalled in Congress after passing the House last Friday. We need stern public oversight, no more golden parachutes, and investments to help everyday families rebuild and recover.
Our Activist Toolkit includes tips on how to get your letter to the editor published and be sure to check out RESULTS volunteer Ted Mintun’s letter in Sunday’s Salina Journal. And, when you write your letter to the editor, please send a copy to your senators and representative — call their offices and ask how to email or fax the letter to an aide working on the bailout package.

TAKE ACTION — KEEP CALLING CONGRESS: Please call your U.S. representative and both of your senators toll free (888) 245-0215 and deliver this message (also in our online alert, which we’ll keep updated as events transpire this week): Families here and across the country are struggling and need a REAL economic recovery package. Please support efforts to temporarily boost food stamps, increase Medicaid assistance to states, provide low-income heating assistance, and other policies to stimulate the economy and cushion the financial squeeze on struggling families. And, please push to extend the Child Tax Credit to 3 million low-income children by lowering the income threshold to $8,500 THIS YEAR in any final tax legislation.

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