Amid reports that negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” include possible cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital lifelines that families count on, worker activists are rallying on Capitol Hill today.
They are calling on Congress to fight back against benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and to insist that lawmakers ensure the nation’s wealthiest pay their fair share in taxes. The action is scheduled to include a march to House Speaker Rep. John Boehner’s (R –Ohio) office, where he will be presented with a lump of coal for his efforts to shield the wealthy and make cuts in Social Security and other essential services.
Our own Ianthe Metzger will be tweeting from the event from the AFL-CIO Twitter account.
Update from Metzger:
Hundreds of labor activists, community groups and working people came out today to defend the middle and working class at a rally on Capitol Hill. As negotiations on the fiscal cliff showdown come down to the wire, vital lifelines that American families count on continue to be at risk. Speakers from the interfaith community, National Education Alliance, AFSCME, Alliance for Retired Americans, as well as senior citizens spoke about the how cutting benefits to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and education would cripple the middle class and hurt all working families.
“We are here to tell congress that we want jobs, and we want them now, we want fair taxes and we want them now. We’ve got to work for an America that believes that your home matters, that believes that your health matter, that believes that your retirement matters. We’ve got to work for an America that believes that all of America is important. When America bets on the middle class, all of us are better off,” said Reverend Freeman
Diane Flemming of the Alliance for Retired Americans also had a few words:
Raising the Medicare age is a terrible idea. We’ve already invested – we’ve paid for this. Medicare has helped millions of seniors stay healthy and out of poverty. It’s time to stop blaming us for the problems that we did not create; we did not create this deficient. We work hard, we don’t have any problems with working hard and we are the people that support this country.
The Chair of the National Education Alliance spoke about the importance of investing in students and avoiding cuts to K through 12 programs, college work study programs, Pell grants and stopping the elimination of the American Education Opportunity Tax credit. “Cutting all of these things will make it nearly impossible for us to pursue the great American Dream. So many of us are already dangling on our very own fiscal cliffs, now is not the time for congress to turn its backs on us!”
After congregating in Upper Senate Park, participants marched across out Capitol to Speaker Boehner’s office yelling chants like “Boehner, Boehner you don’t care, make the rich pay their fair share,” and “Stop, stop, stop the cuts. Tax, tax, tax the rich!” Bags of coal were then delivers to his office, a Christmas gift from working people, letting Speaker Boehner and ‘naughty’ members of congress know that they cannot continue to protect the wealthy. It’s time they stood up for all people.