For months on end the 99er Nation has fought hard for the Tier 5 unemployment “exhaustees” desperately need. Many 99ers have taken a leading role in this fight, but one of the most successful leaders heads 99er Media, Rob C.

Staring at his clock and anguishing over what could be done to motivate the Senate to bring S3706 up for a vote before the election, Rob was unable to sleep Thursday night. By 2:30 AM pacific time Friday morning, Rob decided to draft an email to his friend, Ed Schultz.

This Thursday, Rob was on air with Ed Schultz on his radio show, explaining the 99er NOVO position. It was made clear that all the 99ers want in order to get their hard work and energy behind the Democrats in November, is to have the Americans Want to Work Act brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Simple, right? Not really. S3706 has been languishing in Finance Committee “limbo” since it was first introduced back in August.

This is the text of that 2:30 AM email from Friday morning:

Dear Ed,
I appreciate speaking with you yesterday (on the radio show). One thing I will always respect you for is your fairness in  handling this issue, even when you personally do not agree with our “Non-voting” option. I think the despair within the 99er Nation has really peaked. The upcoming elections signify that we are about to hit the final wall and no help is coming! One 99er guest on your show the other day, really distorted the time line perspective on this issue. She commented that she could wait two more months - No problem! Well all the 99ers I know cannot wait two more months. Doom is already upon their doorstep, only the greater issue is that it really doesn't work out to two months. If we go past the elections then it could well be January before we get this to the floor and possibly passed. That translates into five more months, or by that time just about a year since any of us have had a basic lifeline. What will their excuse be then - it's been a whole year now, so why should we doing anything?

With the U.S. Congress it's anybody's guess..I know Healthcare is a victory and important. Though unemployed people are falling by the wayside at an out of control pace like no other. I know healthcare costs will destroy many lives. In comparison suicide rates will soar to disgusting heights because of unemployment. I can assure you the last thing my Dad was thinking about in those seconds and minutes before he took his life was NOT health care. He was thinking about running out of food, being evicted from his home, and about the shame of being unemployed and 61 years old.

When I examine the wreckage around me and a great many other 99ers survey their own personal wreckage, we are left to the somber conclusion that we can not give our vote away to people who have ignored us in our hour of need. Someone does not deserve our vote simply because they chose to belong to one of two parties. All we are asking these guys to do is bring the bill to the floor before they take yet another break. If they cannot manage to move some paper onto the floor, do they really deserve to be running the country? I don't want people handling tough issues like Iran if they can't handle something as straight forward as bringing an unemployment bill to the floor during a record economic crash. If they can't push some paper, can we trust them with the tough stuff?  Besides they are not voting on the tax breaks in this session, that frees up their time now to do something productive like bring the Stabenow bill to the floor.

Ed, I truly think there is pathway to victory here for everyone. Please work with me to get this bill to the floor. You are influential and you have lots of friends - Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson, Mr. Carville and so on. Someone has to be able to talk some sense into the Democrats and get this bill to the floor. Mr. Carville was soliciting ideas for the Democrats on CNN just days ago. Your voice is more powerful than any of ours. Please do what you can to wake up those capable of fixing this to do so. They are searching for an election solution when it's sitting right here in front of them. Just think of the energy the 99ers have concentrated into our movement. Not only would the Democrats win the votes of us and our families, they would inherit this robust spirit of support and activism. No one will hold it against you if this doesn't work and they don't bring the bill to the floor. We know you have had our back the entire way. No one will ever question that. But if you can strike a chord with someone and get them into motion, you single handedly could change the entire 2010 elections. You are the voice of the everyday American. They can have our vote, but they can't have it for free. We can change things Ed. Please help me to fix this before November.  
With Great Respect,
Rob Curtis and the 99er-NOVOs  (End of email)

Rob eventually drifted off to sleep only to discover 2 reply emails when he awoke.

The first came at 5:43 AM Friday from Wendy Schultz, explaining that she forwarded Rob’s email to Ed, that he (Ed) was not giving up on the 99ers.

The second came 2 hours later, explaining that Ed would be calling Senator Stabenow personally and plead the case for the 99ers.

Who could ask for more from Mr. Schultz, who has been the hero of the 99er Nation since May of this year.

At 11:30 AM that morning, while on another call, Rob received a call he thought was from Ed’s producers. When he clicked over to take the call, the voice on the other end of the line announced: “ Hi Rob, this is Ed Schultz.” His next words were: “I just got done talking personally with Debbie Stabenow,” stating that he had a commitment from (D-MI) to bring S3706 to the Senate floor for debate and a possible voice vote, next week.

In consideration for this bill actually getting to the floor for a vote, Rob and Ed made a monumental agreement. Rob C. has assured Ed Schultz that once the bill is brought to the Senate floor for debate and a possible voice vote next week - the 99er NOVOs will dissolve their ‘No Vote’ campaign. The voices and collective power of the 99er NOVO movement will then redirect all of their energy into a Democratic VICTORY and ensuring successful passage of legislation that will help all the American 99ers.

Rob is enormously grateful to Ed for moving mountains in making this happen and out of respect for that extraordinary effort, is committed to transforming the energy of the 99er NOVOs into the “Ed Saved the VOTE” caucus, working tirelessly for a Democratic win in November.

Next week, once the bill has been brought to the floor, Rob and Ed have agreed to revisit this matter. At that time, Rob would like to publicly announce how this all came about, how Ed saved the day and how the NOVO movement will evolve into a driving force behind a Democratic win in 2010.

Of course it is widely believed that this bill will face stiff opposition from the Senate Republicans. That is where the 99er Nation can help.

Everyone is encouraged to contact their state Senators, Democrat or Republican and demand they support S3706.

The retiring Senator Voinovich may be just what the 99er Nation has been praying for and all unemployed Americans are urged to contact his offices in mass this week.
Washington D.C. Phone: 202-224-3353
Cincinnati, OH phone: (513) 684-3265 fax: (513) 684-3269
Cleveland, OH phone: (216) 522-7095 fax: 522-7097
Columbus, OH phone: (614) 469-6697 fax: 469-7733
Nelsonville, OH phone: (740) 441-6410 fax: (740) 753-3551
Toledo, OH phone: (419) 259-3895 fax: (419) 259-3899

Another possible ally in the fight to pass our Tier 5 bill could be Senator George LeMieux of Florida. Washington, DC Phone: (202) 224-3041, Toll free: (866) 630-7106 Fax: (202) 228-5171.

The two Senators from the great state of Maine may also be receptive to helping the unemployed “exhaustees” get this bill passed or at least stop a filibuster threat.

 Senator Olympia J. Snowe
: Washington, DC Phone: (202) 224-5344 Toll Free: (800) 432-1599 Fax: (202) 224-1946.

Senator Susan Collins: Washington, DC Phone: (202) 224-2523 Fax: (202) 224-2693.

Call the White House comments line to demand the same. White House Comments Line 202-456-1111 Comment line is only open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday thru Friday EST. ***REMIND the President that this is an emergency and WE the people (middle class then -impoverished now) voted him in office. Now he needs to speak up for us and do whatever he can to assure our Tier 5 becomes law NOW!

The 99er Nation stands on the verge of obtaining the coveted Tier 5 UI extension, but it may be a hollow victory for those 99ers in states which do not meet the 7.5% unemployment threshold the bill requires for the additional 20 weeks of benefits.

This is a very hopeful turn of events and next week we shall see if the Democrats keep this commitment.

The moral of this story is: Never underestimate the power of a well publicized NOVO threat, especially in a tight midterm race.