Friday, July 8, 2011

Rally At Roy Blunt's Office To Save Social Security and Medicare

Hundreds of activists gathered on Thursday outside of Roy Blunt's office to tell the Senator that Missourians don't want budget issues to be used as a cheap excuse to push through the Republicans' dream of cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Polls have consistently shown that people overwhelmingly support keeping the social safety net in place and are in favor of allowing tax breaks for the uber-wealthy to expire. That is the responsible way to balance the budget.

Here are some photos from the rally taken by activist Brenda Ringo:

A press advisory for the event (I changed the tense):
ST. LOUIS – As Congress works to balance the budget and reduce the deficit, hundreds of Missourians rallied Thursday at 4:30 p.m. outside of Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) Clayton office to tell him how his commitment to protect Corporate America and the wealthiest Americans will harm his constituents across the state of Missouri. Senator Blunt has publicly stated that he will not support measures to raise the revenue in order to confront budgetary issues; including closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing taxes on millionaires. Instead, he continues to support plans that will drastically cut funding to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and federal workers that provide critical services to Americans.

Senator Blunt stated that ending tax breaks and closing loopholes would not be fair to those who rely on them. Thursday, Missourians had a chance to reply to Senator Blunt with their message about what “fair” means to average Missouri citizens. Monica Williams, a Paraquad Community Advocate, spoke about how Medicaid is her lifeline to freedom and independence in the community since it provides her personal care attendant. “Medicaid enables me to go to work and be a productive citizen” she stated. “Taking away my opportunity to live independently and work in the community is not fair.”

Others spoke about how cutting critical programs will harm the seniors, people with disabilities, and working- and middle-class families that rely on them. Reverend Susan Sneed of Metropolitan Congregations United stated “balancing the federal budget on the backs of vulnerable Americans is never the answer. We promised our seniors that if they pay their taxes and paid into Social Security and Medicare, these programs would be there for them when they needed them. Rather than cutting critical programs, we must look for balanced budget solutions that uphold our American values, require all individuals and corporations to contribute their fair share, and ensure that all Americans have access to the basic services they need.”

Attendees signed a petition to Missouri’s Senators that states, "We urge you to stand strong and protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and the federal workers who deliver our essential services. A cut to our federal budget and workforce is a cut to Missouri. We have sacrificed enough. Now, we urge you to raise revenues. It's time for the rich and big corporations to pay their fair share. We do not accept that there have to be spending caps, cuts to essential services or balanced budget amendments."

"It is absolutely critical that our efforts to reduce the deficit are balanced solutions that include new revenue,” said Kirsten Dunham of Paraquad. "We are very concerned that Congress will try to impose global spending caps or a balanced budget amendment that may sound good on the surface, but which over time would require drastically cutting Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and other services that Americans value."

Organizers of the rally were the American Federation of Government Employees, Missouri Jobs with Justice, Metropolitan Congregations United, Missouri Health Care for All, Missouri Budget Project, GRO - Grass Roots Organizing, Missouri Pro-Vote, the Alliance of Retired Americans, Paraquad and the Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform. Representatives from each organization delivered the petition to Senator Blunt's staff during the rally.
Hotflash at Show Me Progress has more from the rally, including this great video of leaders sharing their concerns with with Blunt's staff:

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