By Randi Schmidt
Director of Economic Empowerment Policy, YWCA USA
When I was attending graduate school, I interned at the YWCA Madison (Wis.), which served homeless and low-income women and their families, and many elderly or disabled populations. We worked with women whose economic security was fragile at best.
One day, a local restaurant dropped off leftover food at the YWCA to share with our residents. After we arranged the aluminum foil containers on our front desk counter, we notified the residents that food was available in the lobby. The next thing I remember is a line of women between the ages of 40 and 70 with mental and physical disabilities, standing in line near the front desk counter and holding plastic containers. I can still recall how excited and grateful these women were for leftover food. They stood in line talking excitedly about how they were looking forward to the food and I remember them thanking us. I have never been as humbled by anything as I was that day.
I vowed to always fight for those women who, day in and day out, struggle to make it and don’t ask for much, yet who are so grateful for what they do get. And, right now, I’m thinking of the women who rely on YWCAs across the country, as the budget and tax debate unfolds in Washington. It makes me sad and sometimes angry that members of Congress are refusing to help 98% of families in this nation, even as they publicly agree that it is the right thing to do.
Our nation’s unemployment rate is still high, and people are still struggling under our weak economy. Right now, tax cuts that help poor, low-income and middle-income women and families — that’s 98% of us — are set to expire on December 31, 2012. A bill to extend these tax cuts has already passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote. A similar bill (H.R. 15) is stalled in the House because some are refusing to let it come up for a vote. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) decided it was time for the House to act, and he drafted a petition to force a vote on the bill.
In the last two weeks, some in Congress have had a change of heart: they’ve spoken up and urged their colleagues to pass these tax cuts now. To date, 179 members of the House have signed onto Rep. Walz’s petition, meaning we need only 40 more Representatives to vote in favor of the petition to force Congress to vote on H.R. 15 before December 24!
The YWCA USA needs your help. Let’s work together to tell Congress to stop putting the economic security of women and their families in danger.
Join us today so that we can help Congress do what is right for 98% of women and families this holiday season.
How you can help:
- Email your Representative! Click here to type in your zip code and find out if your Representative has signed Rep. Walz’s petition. If they have, send them a message thanking them. If they haven’t signed it, send them a message asking them to do so!
- Tweet your Representative to let them know you support extending tax cuts for 98% of the population. (Find your Representative’s Twitter handle here and add it to the post below).
Dear @[Rep]: your support for middle class tax cuts will help 98% of #women & families. #fiscalcliff #YWCA
Click to Tweet this now
Dear @[Rep]: millions of #YWCA families are affected by middle class tax cuts. Will you support them? #fiscalcliff
Click to Tweet this now
- Send your Representative an Ecard! Click here to find out if your Representative has signed Rep. Walz’s petition. If they have, click on the graphics below to tag and share one of our holiday thank you e-cards on Facebook. (To tag your Representative on Facebook, click the card below and click “Tag Photo.” Type the name of your Representative and click on their Facebook page when it appears!)
- Want to do more? Send our allies who have spoken out an ecard! Click here to find out if your Senator or Representative has spoken out in favor of the tax cuts. If they have, click on the graphics above to tag and share one of our holiday thank you e-cards on Facebook. (To tag your Representative on Facebook, click the card below and click “Tag Photo.” Type the name of your Representative and click on their Facebook page when it appears!)
For more information on the YWCA Campaign for a Women’s Budget, visit www.ywca.org/budget.
Randi Schmidt is the Director of Economic Empowerment Policy for YWCA USA. She has worked at the organization for nine years.
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