Forty-one organizations, representing millions of Americans, have signed this letter to Congress, asking them to stand against those who would “hold our economy hostage in order to dictate the terms of the debate.” (Jump to the list of signers.) In addition to the text of the letter, we’ve added supplemental information and talking points in the highlighted boxes.
As we head into another series of manufactured budget crises, the 41 undersigned organizations stand against those who want to hold our economy hostage in order to dictate the terms of debate. We urge you to:
Repeal Job-Killing Sequestration Cuts
The greatest challenge facing our economy today is the continuing jobs crisis, not the deficit. Over 20 million people are in need of full-time work. Meanwhile, the annual deficit has been cut by more than half since 2009 as a portion of the economy, and is now falling faster than at any time since the demobilization after World War II.
The across-the-board budget cuts – called “sequestration” – that began in March of this year are making the jobs crisis worse and holding back economic growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office, simply repealing sequestration would generate 900,000 jobs. We call on Congress to end the sequester – period – and not replace it with other harmful cuts.
We reject threats by some extremists to shut down the government or cause a government default unless their ransom demands are met – including their demand to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congress should lift the debt ceiling without conditions because the full faith and credit of the U.S. government is not – and should not be – negotiable.
Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
We urge you to oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare benefits, including the shifting of health care costs to beneficiaries. We should be improving Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare by expanding benefits, not cutting them, because working people need more economic security, not less.
Defend Core Programs for Those Most At Risk
Congress should defend the core security programs for those most at risk in this economy, such as impoverished women and children, the elderly, or the long-term unemployed. The savage cuts proposed for food stamps (SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Program) are unconscionable. Cuts now projected in education, housing, home heating, Head Start, infant nutrition and other programs vital to low-income families should be reversed.
Eliminate All Tax Incentives for Sending Jobs Overseas
Powerful corporations and the rich should pay their fair share of taxes. As a start, we call on Congress to eliminate all tax incentives that encourage companies to ship jobs abroad. Ending these tax subsidies would – by itself – increase investment and employment in the U.S. At the same time, it would generate hundreds of billions in revenue which could help rebuild our economy without increasing the deficit.
This money could be used to launch a five-year plan to rebuild our outmoded infrastructure; to help ensure that the U.S. captures the lead in a green industrial revolution that is already generating growing numbers of good jobs; and to invest in education, from preschool to affordable college, to prepare our children to succeed in the 21st century.
Congress should combine this with raising the minimum wage and reviving the right to organize to counter the extreme inequality so debilitating to our economy.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers
Campaign for America’s Future
Caring Across Generations
Center for Community Change
Center for Effective Government
Coalition on Human Needs
Communications Workers of America
Community Action Partnership
Council for Opportunity in Education
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Green For All
Health Care for America Now
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work
Leadership Center for the Common Good
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
MoveOn.org Civic Action
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Employment Law Project
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Immigration Law Center
National People’s Action
National Women’s Law Center
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Partnership for Working Families
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Social Security Works
United Steelworkers (USW)
Wider Opportunities for Women