Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Richard Trumka: Stand up to the bullies in Congress

It’s always nice to see hard work pay off. I’m proud to say the work we did together protected working families from taking yet another hit when the fiscal showdown agreement passed last week. We were relentless in making sure extremist politicians’ pattern of holding our economy hostage didn’t work—and we did pretty well this round.

The agreement begins to restore tax fairness, protects needed Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and extends unemployment benefits for workers for another year.

But the right-wing bullies in Congress already are plotting to take their next hostage. They’re once again demanding benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and threatening to tank our economy by causing a default of the U.S. government unless they get their way.

The only way to stop bullies is to stand up to them.

Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper now to call out the Republican bullies in Congress for their tactics to hold the middle class and our economy hostage so they can keep the rewards flowing to corporate CEOs and the rich.

We trounced the bullies this last time around. Just look at what we have accomplished with your help since Election Night:
  • More than 40,000 people signed our petition that was delivered to senators and representatives in 22 states before the holidays;
  • 15,000+ called their members of Congress, including nearly a thousand in the critical days leading up to the deal;
  • More than 28,000 e-mails were sent in two days to President Obama and elected officials to ask them to hold the line against benefit cuts;
  • Tens of thousands of people attended one of more than 200 events organized in nearly every state and Washington, D.C.;
  • 25,000+ watched and shared our fiscal showdown video;
  • You helped us spread the message on Facebook to 143,011 people by sharing and liking one or more of our Facebook posts more than 14,000 times;
  • And more than 10,000 people participated in our online candlelight vigil on Dec. 10.
This is amazing work and you should give yourself a pat on the back for helping save Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid from benefit cuts and for starting to make the rich pay their fair share.

I’m confident we can keep this momentum going, and it’s critical that we do. Republican hostage takers still are eyeing benefit cuts and threatening to cause a default—something there can be absolutely no negotiation about. They want to control the conversation so dangerous budget austerity—budget cuts that take food aid from hungry children, weaken education and food safety and let our bridges and roads crumble—is the only thing we discuss.

And they don’t want to talk about simple reforms to close tax loopholes for Wall Street, drug companies, companies that outsource jobs and for the richest 2% of Americans. The deal passed last week ended the Bush tax cuts for families making more than $450,000, rather than the $250,000 we supported. The original proposal from President Obama would have raised more than enough revenue from the richest 2% of Americans to offset the across-the-board budget cuts set to go into effect on March 1.

The bullies want to strong-arm us into believing their manufactured hostage crisis is the problem. The real problem is their continued insistence on protecting their rich donor and lobbyist friends and cutting benefits. They refuse to talk about genuine solutions to help our economy and create jobs by investing in infrastructure and education, raising wages, reducing inequality and increasing economic security for working people.

It’s time we stood up to the Republican bullies.

Send your local newspaper a letter to the editor now to make sure the voice of working families, not just the bullies in Congress, is heard, too:


In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

Visit us at www.aflcio.org | Facebook | Twitter

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