A prominent Washington progressive organization plans national protests next week against further cuts to federal safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare. Among those speaking out against any such cuts by the so-called supercommittee is former senator Russ Feingold.
MoveOn.org is organizing what it calls national demonstrations on Nov. 17, ahead of the release of recommendations to cut the federal budget deficit by the bipartisan supercommittee.
“The past months have been filled with powerful, creative, and passionate displays of people fighting back against a system rigged against them,” says an email sent by Monday by MoveOn.org. “But many of our elected officials continue to sit on the sidelines—or worse, to look out only for millionaires and powerful industries. Until we start to see our economy transformed, we’ll keep taking to the streets to amplify our voices.
“That’s why we’re working with [the Service Employees International Union], AFL-CIO, Occupy Wall Street, and other groups to organize hundreds of events for our ‘We Are The 99%’ day on November 17,” the email adds. “If we organize enough events, tens of thousands of Americans can maximize their voices a week before the Super Committee decision.”
MoveOn.org recently announced it was launching its own anti-corporate protests separate from, but “in solidarity with,” the burgeoning Occupy movement.
The supercommittee has until Thanksgiving to announce its recommendations to cut more than $1 trillion off the federal deficit over 10 years.
Progressives increasingly are concerned by reports that supercommittee Democrats will support plans to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to help fill the budget gap.
“According to press reports, Democratic senators on the ‘Super Committee’ have proposed hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, as well as Medicaid, while Republicans proposed even bigger and more harmful cuts to these essential middle class benefits,” says Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO labor organization. “These ‘Super Committee’ Democrats have put all their concessions on the table up front in the vain hope that the Republicans might reciprocate. But it doesn’t work that way. In this political climate, concessions beget more concessions – not a workable compromise …
“The AFL-CIO will oppose any cuts to Social Security or Medicare benefits or to the federal contribution to Medicaid,” Trumka adds. “We call on politicians of both parties to stand firm and demand that Wall Street and the wealthy finally pay their fair share –- given the extraordinary increases in corporate profits and income inequality in recent years.”
Feingold Against Supercommittee Cuts
Former senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is another voice on the left urging his former colleagues to not cut into federal entitlement programs.
“Tens of thousands of progressives have told the super committee Democrats to walk away from any deal that includes cuts to Medicare or Social Security benefits,” says Feingold, defeated last year in the tea party wave after three terms in the Senate. “The super committee has until November 23 to recommend $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, and that means the pressure from corporate lobbyists, the administration, and more is only going to grow.
“We need to make sure Democrats on the super committee feel the pressure only progressives can bring. We need to urge them to stand by our progressive principles: Ensure millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations pay their fair share of debt reduction; No cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits; No giveaways to corporate interests; Or no deal.”
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.