Wisconsin Democrats–
I hope that this email finds you well. I wanted to forward these DNC talking points along to you. Many of you have requested information that can be shared with your networks and as these talking points cover issues currently before the President and Congress, I hope this is helpful and useful.
As always, please let me know what else I can do for you. Hope to see you all soon! Happy December!
Unemployment Insurance Extension Talking Points 
  • Today, emergency unemployment insurance benefits will expire, leaving millions of Americans without a key lifeline that helps them keep food on the table and make ends meet while they fight to find a job.  
  • The consequences of letting this aid lapse are stark: in the month of December alone, two million workers will lose this aid, and if we don’t act, almost seven million workers, total, will lose coverage over the next year. 
  • By allowing these benefits to expire many Americans will lose the ability to buy the basics as they look for work; over the next year, over 2.5 million women will lose coverage, along with over one million African Americans and almost 950,000 Hispanics. 
  • Extending this support to those hardest hit by this crisis is not only the right thing to do, it’s the right economic policy. Letting millions more Americans fall into hardship will hurt our economy at this critical point in our recovery and cut off an important source of demand in our economy.  
  • Benefits for the jobless are particularly important during the holiday season. In addition to providing support for families when they need it most, the positive effects of the program on the economy are likely to be greater since American families tend to spend more during the holiday season. 
  • Benefits for the unemployed do not add to long-term deficits because the spending is temporary. To the contrary, unemployment insurance contributes powerfully to economic growth. 
  • Unemployment insurance gives temporary support to Americans fighting to find jobs that will spend their benefits checks immediately, stimulating demand.  As a result, unemployment insurance is one of the more effective government programs according to a wide range of private and government studies. 
  • The President urges Congress to enact a long-term extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits and to do so as soon as possible. 

Talking Points: President Obama’s Meeting with Bipartisan Congressional Leaders 

  • Right now, America faces a number of particularly difficult challenges, and the American people have demanded that our leaders cooperate in order to deliver solutions.  That’s why President Obama met yesterday with Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders to talk about how both parties can work together to move America forward. 
  • President Obama hopes that meeting will be the start of a new bipartisan dialogue that will produce real progress. 
  • The President believes that it is critical that Democrats and Republicans begin working together right away, because there are a number of critical issues that should be resolved before the holiday recess.
  • It is critical that Congress resolve the issue of tax cuts.  Everyone agrees that we need to permanently extend the tax-cuts for the middle class.  But Congressional Republicans also want to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – a step that would add $700 billion to America’s national debt.  President Obama believes that doing that would be both unwise and unfair, particularly at a time when our government is considering deep budget cuts that will require broad sacrifice.
  • It is important that Democrats and Republicans find common ground on this issue and give middle-class families the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that their taxes aren’t going up.  To that end, President Obama has appointed Secretary Geithner and OMB Director Lew to work with both parties to break the current impasse.  Congressional leaders have promised to appoint members to do the same, and that process will begin immediately.
  • At the same time, President Obama has said that it is important that the parties come together to ratify New START so that America can monitor Russia’s nuclear arsenal, reduce our nuclear weapons, and strengthen our relationship with Russia.  The New START Treaty has already been vetted for seven months and over the course of 18 hearings; it has the support of Senators of both parties, and it is essential to America’s national security.  It should not be delayed any longer.
  • The President also recognizes America’s deficit constraints, and he has asked Congressional leaders to come together to make the tough but necessary decisions required to put our nation’s fiscal house in order.
  • Congress must also move swiftly to extend a variety of important tax breaks for individuals and businesses that are supporting America’s economic recovery but that are set to expire at the year’s end.  Those include a tax credit for college tuition and a tax break for 95 percent of working families, as well as a tax cut worth thousands of dollars for businesses that take on unemployed workers.
  • And Congress must extend the unemployment insurance that expires today, because America needs to continue to provide this critical emergency relief to those who are facing difficult times through no fault of their own. 
  • America is facing some tough challenges, and all our leaders share a responsibility to develop solutions.  That means that they must choose the best ideas over the worst kinds of politics.  That’s the spirit in which President Obama held yesterday’s meeting, and that’s the spirit that should define Congress’ efforts moving forward. 

 Talking Points: Tax Cuts 

  • President Obama has talked time and again about the necessity of permanently extending the middle-class tax cuts.  Because during these difficult times, middle-class Americans deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing their taxes aren’t going to increase. 
  • Although Democrats and Republicans agree that middle-class families deserve that peace of mind, Congress is still unable to move forward on this issue.  And if they fail to act by the end of the year, the typical middle-class family will see a tax increase of $3,000, and American businesses will also see a tax increase. 
  • That sort of uncertainty would have the potential to undermine America’s economic recovery.  So, as noted during his bipartisan meeting, President Obama is urging Congress to take up the middle-class tax cut issue in the next few weeks.  Because the last thing we can afford right now is a middle-class tax hike. 
  • America’s deficit situation requires Democrats and Republicans alike to make difficult but necessary decisions.  One of those choices is whether we should permanently extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  And President Obama believes that if our country is serious about containing long-term deficits, we just can’t afford to add another $700 billion to America’s debt in order to give millionaires and billionaires a tax cut. 

Talking Points: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell 

  • Yesterday, the Pentagon released the results of a comprehensive, 10-month study regarding American service members’ views on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.  According to the survey, a majority of American troops would support the repeal of DADT.  In fact, 70 percent of troops do not believe the change would have a negative impact on morale, and troop readiness would not be affected.  
  • The survey’s positive findings come on the heels of declarations of support for the repeal of DADT by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen.  
  • In keeping with the release of the study, momentum for the repeal of DADT has increased significantly.  The Senate plans to hold hearings on repeal shortly, and the President is hopeful that Congress will then act to repeal DADT in an orderly fashion, rather than allowing this issue to be litigated through the courts – which could potentially be disruptive to the military.   
  • Unfortunately, some Republicans are still determined to prevent the repeal of DADT.  First, they said they would defer to military leadership — and then refused to budge when people like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell all came forward to support repeal.  Then, they said they were worried about how repeal would weaken our military or hurt troop morale — and that we should wait for the results of the Pentagon study.  Well, the results are in: Our military believes the time has come to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 
  • As the President has said, this should not be a partisan issue.  A sizable portion of the American people believes that anyone who is willing to serve on behalf of our country should be treated fairly and equally.  The President shares that view. 
  • President Obama and Democrats in Congress will continue to fight for the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ policy because, as he has made clear time and again – including in his State of the Union Address – he believes that all Americans should be able to serve their country, without regard to their sexual orientation.   
  • It is also important to note that not a single person has been discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell since Oct. 21st, when Secretary Gates restricted who could authorize a discharge to branch chiefs only. 

Talking Points: The DREAM Act 

  • The DREAM Act is intended to prevent young people from being punished for the actions of their parents, giving them the opportunity to obtain legal status by pursuing a higher education or by serving in the American armed forces – for the country they grew up in and embrace as their own. 
  • The DREAM Act has long been supported by Democratic as well as Republican leaders. In fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee has twice approved the legislation with support from Senators of both parties, and it passed the full Senate in 2006 as part of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  There is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t receive that same kind of bipartisan support today. 
  • In fact, the DREAM Act was first authored by Republicans nearly a decade ago.  So now that Senate Majority Leader Reid is moving the DREAM Act forward as a stand-alone bill, Republicans should have no reason to oppose it – particularly the seven Republicans who have voted for it in the past.   
  • President Obama is also a long-time supporter of the DREAM Act and was a co-sponsor of that legislation when he was in the Senate, and a number of Cabinet Members and Administration officials have stepped forward to talk about how America would benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act.
  • The American military supports the DREAM Act, and the DREAM Act is a part of the Department of Defense’s 2010-2012 Strategic Plan to strengthen the military’s recruiting efforts.
  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said the DREAM Act can play a key role in the Administration’s efforts to ensure America has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, making the United States more globally competitive.
  • Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has said the DREAM Act offers a firm but fair way to deal with innocent children who were brought to the U.S. at a young age, so that we can better focus on detaining and deporting criminals and others who immigrate illegally and pose a threat to America.
  • This Administration will do whatever is necessary to get the Congressional leadership support necessary to pass this bill. Because passing the DREAM Act is simply the right thing to do. 
  • But comprehensive immigration reform remains a critical necessity if we want to fix America’s broken immigration system. So President Obama will continue to urge broader reform that sends lasting and dedicated resources to the American border, but also restores responsibility and accountability to our broken immigration system.