As Unemployed Seize K Street Time To Amplify Pressure On Congress

Isaiah J. Poole

It was a dismal, rainy day in Washington, but the soaking that several hundred activists got today in the heart of the K Street financial and lobbying district in downtown Washington was nothing compared to the soaking that they and the rest of the “99 percent” have gotten the past decade as a result of economic policies promoted by conservative politicians and their corporate allies.

So the people participating in this week’s “Take Back the Capitol” series of actions saw that it was well worth it to say they will no longer remain silent as Congress continues to brush aside the needs of working and unemployed Americans. For a brief period, they blocked the intersection of 16th and K Streets NW, an intersection that is three blocks from the White House and walking distance from many of the big gorillas of the conservative/corporate agenda, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the lobbying firms that are used to block reforms in banking, health care and corporate regulation.

(Our Dave Johnson was there, and offers this slide show of the scene.)

Meanwhile, Congress is still deadlocked on what should be a simple imperative: Continue a payroll tax cut that will enable working-class families to continue to have an extra few hundred dollars a year they can put back into their local economies. Most Republicans insist on refusing to cover the cost of the tax cut with a small surtax on people earning more than $1 million, even though a new proposal would address some Republican concerns by reducing its size and making it temporary.

That means it’s time to ramp up the pressure on the Republican obstructionists to stop sabotaging the economy.

Click here to tell House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: Stop sabotaging the economy. Quit obstructing extensions of the payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment insurance.

The Republicans have no leg to stand on. And they know it.

They took control of the House promising to create jobs; instead they blocked every proposal to create jobs. They said that all Americans need lower taxes. Now, while they demand more tax cuts for the top 1%, they threaten to raise taxes on the 99%.

Their brazen hypocritical stances cannot withstand sustained pressure from the grassroots. Let’s bring it.

On Tuesday, the offices of at least 99 members of Congress were “occupied” by people who were struggling with unemployment or underemployment, who had their homes foreclosed, or who were close to someone who was a casualty of our continuing economic recession. This video captures a small sample of the stories.

Extensions of the payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment insurance before they expire at the end of the month is only the least we can do to spark the economy. We still need massive investment in infrastructure, clean energy, education and youth jobs to get America moving again. And we still need to pay for it by having the top 1% finally pay their fair share in tax contributions.

And after we break the Republican resistance to helping the middle class and the unemployed, we’ll have renewed momentum to demand what we need. Next week, progressives in the House are planning to make a renewed push for what’s really needed for a sustained economic recovery: immediate funding to end the bleeding of thousands of public sector jobs at the federal, state and local level; infrastructure investments that will restart factories and put idle construction workers back on the job; and direct hiring to address the immediate crises facing veterans and youth; all paid for in part by asking those at the very top of the income ladder, who have done well even as the middle class continues to struggle, to pay their fair share.

We have members of Congress on the run, literally. The “Take Back the Capitol” protests have put Congress on notice: it’s time to stand with the 99%.

Here’s your chance to send the Republican leadership that message, and end the sabotaging of our economy.
Click here to send that message to the leaders of the Republican obstruction, Boehner and McConnell.

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