Community Members Call on Congress to Extend Unemployment Benefits, Extend Tax Cuts for the Middle Class and End Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
Danville, VA – Close to twenty members of the local chapter of the non-profit group Virginia Organizing gathered at a local church Tuesday night to discuss solutions to issues affecting Danville like high unemployment and the budget.
The meeting was part of the new Danville Chapter of Virginia Organizing, a grassroots organization that works directly with community members to find solutions to the problems that directly affect their lives. At the outset of the meeting, it was clear that no issue was more pressing to the group than jobs and unemployment. Community organizer Nik Belanger asked for a show of hands of those who had been unemployed this year or have a close family member who is unemployed. Unsurprising, every hand went up.
“A day never goes by where I don’t hear from someone who has been laid off, cannot find a job or is about to be evicted. We have lost so many jobs in Danville and the effects of unemployment are ripping apart our community,” said Theresa Carter.
Members of the local chapter say that the election is over but the problems remain. The group expressed concerns that the economy isn’t creating jobs and that millions of people are about to lose unemployment benefits.
After a discussion of potential solutions to the unemployment problem, the group decided to immediately step up efforts to convince the current Congress to extend unemployment benefits set to expire in December, and maintain the Bush-era tax cuts for working families while ending them for millionaires. Ending the tax cuts for the wealthy will save $700 billion over the next ten years, according the National Employment Law Project. Over the next couple months the group will hold local events, lobby visits and will participate in a nationwide call-in day to Congress.
The meeting culminated in community members committing to write letters and make calls asking Congressman Tom Perriello and Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to fight for extending unemployment benefits set to expire this month and to pass tax cuts for the middle class and not give an extra tax cut to millionaires.
“People all over the country are hurting, and now our elected leaders need to get back to work on the real issues people are facing,” said Ernest Williams. “All around this country, hardworking people are looking for jobs and families are trying to keep a roof over their head, put food on the table, send their kids to college. The election is over and Congress needs to get back to work.”