The Leadup To Occupy Nov 17 Congressional Jobs Not Cuts Hearing

Isaiah J. Poole

On Wednesday, the day before hundreds of Occupy events are scheduled to break out across the country, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will be holding a hearing highlighting the “jobs, not cuts” theme that is a key part of the Occupy movement.

The hearing is designed to underscore the damage that the kinds of proposals being considered by Congress’s 12-member deficit-reduction supercommittee could do to the Main Street economy.

Two leading members of what is formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, were invited to testify at the hearing, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. in 2237 Rayburn House Office Building.

There is no indication that either of them will appear. That’s a shame, because it would be interesting to hear how they or other members of the supercommittee would address what Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., raised in their letter of invitation:

The American people have been clear that Congress’s top priority must be job creation, and we have advocated for job creation measures on their behalf. At the same time, we have seen working families reject proposed austerity measures, including deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. These cuts would have disastrous consequences for the middle class and the economy as a whole. Clearly, we must pursue other approaches to solving our economic problems.

Unfortunately, the JSCDR has not held a hearing on job creation or the need to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Therefore, the CPC is hosting a panel of economic experts to discuss how to put Americans back to work while protecting the safety nets that keep millions of Americans out of poverty.

The experts who have confirmed that they will be at the hearing are economists Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, Julianne Malveaux of the Bennett College For Women and John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, plus Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. Each have been critics of conservatives of both parties in Congress who are pursuing the doomed policy of imposing austerity on seniors and the working class in the name of reducing the deficit.

The hearing is a fitting prelude to the Occupy Nov. 17 actions that will be taking place around the country, including another Capitol Hill event directed at the supercommittee: a rally featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders at 10 a.m. in 608 Dirksen Senate Office Building. That rally is intended to be a warning to Congress against any “supercommittee” deal that cuts our retirement security and fails to create jobs for the 99 percent. Already, a total of 3 million people have signed petitions like ours opposing a supercommittee bad deal. The rally will amplify the message sent by those signatures.

Wednesday, come to Capitol Hill to learn why we need to resist the austerity economics that the supercommittee wants to impose on the country, and what is being done to advance an alternative set of policies that will put Americans back to work on good jobs with living wages. On Thursday, take what you’ve learned and send a message to Congress that you reject a supercommittee bargain that bargains away a future of broad prosperity and economic security for the 99 percent.

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