NETWORK, the national Catholic social justice lobby, helps you tell your U.S. House Reps that you want them to restore long-term unemployment benefits, which, as you know, lapsed at the end of last year. You probably also know that the Senate did pass an unemployment benefits extension back in April, so at least one house in Congress did its job, but House Speaker Boehner has been nothing but an excuse machine about why he just can't pass the bill: he said it would be too hard for states to apply the benefits retroactively, which of course looks nothing like using a problem you created with your own inaction as an excuse for further inaction, and then when that went over like a lead balloon, he said he wanted some kind of "job growth" measures attached, and if you know Republicans like I know Republicans, then you know by "job growth measures" they mean "massive welfare handouts for my big donors measures." Is it too much to ask that John Boehner is never the Speaker of anything, ever again? After all, it wasn't too much to ask that Eric Cantor never be the Leader of any House Majority or Minority ever again.
Meanwhile, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell Congress to reject a waiver allowing local school districts to opt out of the USDA's new nutrition standards for public school foods, then the Union of Concerned Scientists helps you do that -- and the House may be voting on this issue at any moment, so make your will known with a quickness. (The legislative action in question is Sec. 739 of H.R. 4800, the agriculture appropriations bill.) Republicans say they want to help schools having trouble adapting to the new standards, but won't say how many schools are having trouble or how much money they're losing because of the new standards, which tells me their evidence is entirely anecdotal, and that's not a sound basis for making big decisions. Rep. Farr (D-CA) hit the nail on the head when he said "(t)his waiver gives schools an out, saying you don’t have to do healthy school meals if it’s hard." And while schools might save themselves a little money in the short term, they'll cost society a lot more money in the long-term, when their kids get fat and develop diabetes and heart trouble, and we all help pay for those health problems.