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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2011
2:40 PM

CONTACT: AFL-CIO

Media Outreach Department 202-637-5018.

Across the Country Americans Demand Debt Ceiling Deal That Protects Seniors and the Middle Class

Call on Republicans to Compromise and Not Wreck our Economy to Protect Tax Breaks for Millionaires, Private Jet Owners and Corporations

WASHINGTON - July 29 - Like a broken record Republicans in the House and Senate are willing to wreck our economy by refusing to compromise and insisting on their radical plan to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and the middle class by slashing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while giving tax breaks to millionaires, hedge fund managers and big corporations. 

Today, at over 100 events across the country Americans continued to make their voices heard and demanded a debt deal that protects seniors and the middle class while making sure the rich and corporations pay their fair share. 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, "Republican elected leaders are acting like dictators – putting their political interests before the good of the country.  They're willing to throw working families and the working poor overboard just to preserve tax cuts for billionaires and hedge fund managers.  With over 14 million Americans out of work we need Congress to focus on job creation.  And massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will only hurt any effort to rebuild our economy."

AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said, ""Republican leaders need to get their priorities straight. They appear willing to throw the economy back into a tail spin and deny Social Security checks to seniors, benefits to veterans and care to sick children – all to save face with their corporate donors.  Main Street has had enough." 

Alliance for Retired Americans President Barbara Easterling said, "Retirees know firsthand that Medicare is one of America's greatest success stories, helping generations of seniors afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription."

HCAN Executive Director Ethan Rome said, "It's an all-out assault on the middle class in order to protect the richest people and corporations when we need a balanced approach to avert a crisis that will wreck the economy. People are fed up with the Republicans, who want to slash Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security just to protect tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. People are taking action because they want Congress to create jobs and the Republicans to stop wasting precious time trying to score political points."

MoveOn.org Executive Director Justin Reuben said, "The Republicans in Washington are doing everything in their power to protect tax breaks for millionaires and corporations, even if it means throwing our entire economy off a cliff.  It is time for Congress to pass a debt deal that does not further damage our economy, and does not ask seniors and the middle class to bear the burden of raising the debt ceiling."     

NEA Executive Director John I. Wilson said, "There is a fundamental question before Congress. Will Congressional Republicans balance the budget on the backs of those least able to afford additional sacrifice? Will they cater to Wall Street and large corporate interests at the expense of America's children, seniors and the middle class? Or will they put partisan politics aside to do what's right for all Americans?"

Protect Your Care Communications Director Eddie Vale said, "If Republicans continue this reckless path and refuse to compromise they will wreck our economy, senior citizens won't get their Social Security or Medicare and military families will lose their benefits."

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said, "Republicans in Congress are playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States and proposing policies that would force seniors to leave their nursing homes, children to give up their healthcare and working families to say goodbye to their jobs. While Americans are struggling, Congressional Republicans are taking this irresponsible and extremist approach so that corporations and millionaires can keep their tax giveaways. That is both unacceptable and morally wrong."

USAction Director of Strategy and Policy Alan Charney said, "A strong middle class isn't built by accident.  It is built because of responsible investments we make together. Our safety net – programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security – represents these types of investments and scaling back is penny-wise and pound-foolish. The money exists to pay for these investments. We just need leaders in Congress to work for all Americans, not just the richest and most powerful Wall Street speculators."

Today's events are the continuation of a massive grassroots lobbying campaign to prevent a debt ceiling deal that slashes Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while giving tax breaks to millionaires, private jet owners and big corporations:

  •   AFL-CIO activists sent over 190,000 e-mails to Congress and the White House and made 3,500 calls to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  •   AFSCME, Americans United for Change and NEA have generated 34,709 phone calls to targeted members of the House and Senate over the past three weeks.
  •  Alliance for Retired Americans held 30 Medicare anniversary events in July to both celebrate Medicare's many accomplishments and warn seniors of threats to its future.
  •  HCAN has held more than 50 events the past two weeks across the country demanding members of Congress stop protecting millionaires and billionaires and preserve Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security for middle-class Americans. HCAN supporters this month also made 5,000 calls to senators and representatives' offices.
  • MoveOn.org Civic Action & American Dream Movement held 800 events, with over 20,000 participants, including one in every Congressional District, this past Tuesday.
  • NEA mobilized tens of thousands of educators in every state of the union and in addition to their phone calls sent 28,000 e-mails to Members of Congress.
  • Protect Your Care held 97 events in eight states in July telling Congress to keep their hands off Medicare and Medicaid.
  • SEIU has participated in a series of local actions at Congressional offices to support Medicaid, has generated tens of thousands of phone calls and emails into Congress, have produced multiple television, newspaper, web and radio ads shaming Republican for holding average Americans hostage to the interests of millionaires and corporate CEO's. 
  • USAction partners and affiliates held over 100 events in July. USAction generated over 42,000 messages to Congress in the past two weeks calling on Congress to tax billionaires and cut Pentagon spending instead of slashing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
###

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions. The AFL-CIO union movement represents 10.5 million members, including 2 million members in Working America, its new community affiliate. We are teachers and truck drivers, musicians and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and bottlers, engineers and editors, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, painters and laborers-and more.



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