American families are being crushed under an avalanche of pink slips, overdue bills and eviction notices. For every hour that our government delays in taking effective action, we pay dearly.

President Barack Obama promised us he would begin fixing the U.S. economy immediately, while greening our future. True to his word, he is trying to deliver – through his proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The U.S. Senate should help our President succeed, not stand in his way.

Imagine what we could do if billions of federal dollars funded initiatives like this

Tell your Senators to pass Obama’s recovery plan.

The Senate’s recovery plan will invest close to $130 billion in green programs that directly create 1.6 million jobs. These investments promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid projects, public transit and “fix it first” transportation infrastructure. This infusion of capital will begin securing our economic, energy and environmental future.

The importance of the recovery plan goes beyond any specific provisions — especially for African-Americans.  From the beginning, black people have been locked out of the benefits of the pollution-based economy.  President Obama’s recovery plan is the first step in building a new economy that is good for the earth and good for our folks.

Take, for example, the Green Jobs Act, which would train and place workers in energy efficiency and renewable energy jobs.  The Green Jobs Act is not just a job training program — it’s a program that focuses on creating “pathways out of poverty” for everyday people who have been struggling to find opportunity in the old economy.

President Obama and the House recommended funding the Green Jobs Act at $500 million, and the Senate ought to do the same.

Tell your Senators to pass Obama’s recovery plan, with $500 million for the Green Jobs Act.

The moment Congress acts and President Obama signs the recovery bill, dollars will begin flowing out – creating jobs, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing energy costs, and building a clean and green economy. We need every penny that President Obama and Congress have proposed for these investments – and we need them now.

Some skeptics are desperately trying to persuade the public that the green aspects of President Obama’s recovery plan are frivolous or just “pie-in-the-sky.” Nobody – and certainly no U.S. Senator – should fall for this kind of deception.

The truth is that President Obama’s proposals to put Americans to work greening our infrastructure offer the biggest bang for the buck in the recovery proposal.

And they are among the most practical, common sense ideas in Washington, DC, right now. Nothing could be more practical than employing ordinary people to fix our buildings, so that they waste less energy.

Fully supported, the green aspects of the recovery plan will give job opportunities to people who need work. They will cut the energy bills of people who need price relief. And they will help people get to work on public transportation, even if they don’t have a car.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will also invest billions of dollars in our most valuable resource, the men and women that deserve to learn and earn in an inclusive green economy.  As we begin to ride this green wave, we must ensure that it lifts all boats.  With 11 million unemployed people in this country, we must invest in the education and training necessary for people who need green careers.

Of course, this recovery package is not the perfect answer. I have publicly called for an even bigger, bolder and greener recovery plan. But the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a solid first step in the right direction.

It is also proof positive that the work we are doing is paying off.  This package would not be as good as it is or as green as it is without everyday people telling Congress and President Obama what we want.  From calling for “Green Jobs Now” during the presidential debates to sending thousands and thousands of e-mails telling Congress to ‘green’ the stimulus, we are the ones who put these issues at the center of the biggest economic stimulus package in U.S. history.

We should all be proud.  But we are not nearly done.

It is vital that the Senate passes a robust version of this legislation immediately, with full bipartisan support, and include full Green Jobs Act funding. The Senate still has to vote on the package, and some Senators are already threatening to block it. And even if it gets through Congress largely intact, we will still have to make sure that the money in the package gets to the best programs and businesses in each of our communities.

First thing’s first:

Tell your Senators to fund the Green Jobs Act at $500 million.

Then call your Senators (1-866-544-7573) and tell them: “Pass President Obama’s Recovery Plan, with $500 million in funding for the Green Jobs Act.”

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