Seniors, Workers, Students & Others Urge Super Committee to Focus on Jobs, Not Cuts
Seniors, workers, and others who rely on overwhelmingly effective social programs tell Congress to fight for jobs and the 99%, not for the greed of the wealthiest 1%
Today, frustrated constituents from across the country came to Washington D.C. to represent The 99%’s Everyday Superheros. They urged congress to “wake up” and protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security from cuts during the last remaining days of the Super Committee negotiations.
Seniors, people with disabilities and workers started the day early by waking up Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a member of the Senate minority leadership, in “alarming” fashion at Bistro Bis, a local restaurant. Carrying gold alarm clocks and signs, angry protesters shut down a breakfast fundraiser for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) when Senator Kyl, keynote speaker at the event, hurried out abruptly after protesters entered the restaurant and chanted, “It’s a new morning, it’s a new day; Wake up Congress and make the 1% pay.” Protesters then followed Sen. Kyl to his vehicle and demanded to know if the Senator plans to protect the 99% of people who depend on these critical services or the 1% richest Americans who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes.
Ferol Wegner, 84, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, traveled to Washington all the way from Des Moines to find out why Sen. Kyl is so alert when he’s listening to the wealthiest 1% of Americans but his attention drifts away whenever anyone brings up the concerns of average people. “We want him to listen to the 99%, not just the 1% who can afford to come to these fundraisers,” Wegner said. “We expect members of the Super Committee to act in the best interests of the majority—people like me who depend on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security every day—instead of the richest 1% who only care about protecting their wealth.”
Protesters then joined a larger crowd outside the fundraiser and marched to the Dirksen Senate Office Building for a rally with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The senators, joined by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), urged their colleagues on the 12-member Super Committee to reject cutbacks to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Seniors, faith leaders and people with disabilities from MA, MT, OH, NJ, IA, IL and other states recounted personal stories about the devastation they would suffer if the bipartisan Super Committee slashes Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
The 12-member Super Committee is considering cutbacks for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as it approaches a Nov. 23 deadline for a deficit reduction plan. Cuts in those programs would irreparably harm seniors, workers, people with disabilities and America’s middle-class and low-income families. At the same time it is contemplating various cuts, the Super Committee members continue to dismiss demands from the public that the deal accomplish its deficit-reduction goal by raising taxes on wealthy corporations and individuals rather than just cutting benefits from people who receive benefits from Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
Jodeen Olguín-Tayler, field director for Caring Across Generations, said that “people came from all over the country to tell Congress to make corporations and wealthiest people start paying their fair share of taxes. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid did not cause our deficit! These programs work, and must be expanded. It’s time for the corporations to pay up! We need jobs, not cuts to our care programs!”
Dr. Jessica Eng, a physician from Boston Medical Center, the largest safety-net health care provider in New England, described how the proposed cuts would harm the health of millions of patients across Massachusetts and the nation. Dr. Eng echoed the message that no Super Committee deal is better than a deal that cuts Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
Following the Senate rally, participants fanned out to visit the offices of Super Committee members and deliver the alarm clocks that should wake them up to reject any budget plan that cuts Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security for the 99% while protecting the richest 1%.
Sarita Gupta, co-director of Caring Across Generations told the crowd “We are here with grandparents, home care workers people with disabilities, students and grassroots organizations from across the country. We are here together to with a vision of a country that values and protects the social programs we need to be able to take care of each other. It is critical that our public policy reflect this vision we have of a society where we can care for each other”.
CO-SPONSORS: AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for a Just Society, Alliance For Retired Americans, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Community Change, Caring Across Generations, Health Care for America Now, International Longshore And Warehouse Union, Jobs with Justice, National Committee To Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Nurses United, National People’s Action, PICO Network, SEIU, Social Security Works and Strengthen Social Security Campaign.