WASHINGTON — Activists weaved through the basement of the Capitol, marched up stairs and squeezed through hallways to deliver more than 100,000 petitions to extend unemployment benefits to the offices of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.
After a press conference with House and Senate Democrats, more than a dozen activists, organized by groups including the National Employment Law Project and AFL-CIO, carried two boxes filled with 60,000 petitions each, asking Congress to extend the benefits, which expired late last month — one for Boehner's office and the other for McConnell's.
Much to the surprise of the activists, Sen. Elizabeth Warren stepped out of an elevator they were waiting to take. Judy Conti (left) of the National Employment Law Project explained to Warren (right) what was going on.
Eventually they arrived at McConnell's office. After some negotiation, a few activists were allowed into McConnell's office to speak with his spokesman, Don Stewart (middle).
Stewart listened to McKinley (pictured at the earlier press conference) as she explained how difficult life without unemployment benefits has been.
The group then moved on to Boehner's office, where they were met with more resistance. Security asked all but one member of the group to leave the office while they negotiated whether the petitions could be delivered.
Outside the Capitol, organizers once more after what they felt was a job well done.
Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
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