Washington (CNN) – Two coalitions of progressive groups are trying to exert more pressure on lawmakers to protect the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class as congressional leaders and the White House try to avert the fiscal cliff when all tax rates rise and major spending cuts are enacted at the beginning of next year.
The groups, Americans for Tax Fairness and the Action, are planning more than 100 events on Saturday to push for the rates to rise for couples making more than $250,000.
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The events range from a "caroling for tax fairness" at Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley's Des Moines office to a press conference with small business owners in Aurora, Colorado, to a petition drive in Columbus, Ohio, to a yacht trip and press conference on Staten Island, New York, as well as protests.
Americans for Tax Fairness, which includes 230 unions, advocacy groups, think tanks and small business organizations, and Action, comprised of more than 100 state and local organizations, are focusing efforts on convincing Republicans and moderate Democrats.
Frank Clemente, campaign manager for Americans for Tax Fairness, said the nationwide effort is "to make the public aware of who is holding things up."
These groups will sponsor a call-in day next Wednesday to urge people to contact members of Congress and will hold "vigils" outside congressional offices the week after next.
While these organizations' initiatives are mostly focused on the tax part of the issue, other progressive groups are focusing on the spending side, urging the White House not to push for major cuts in entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The advocacy group MoveOn and a group of major unions – American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and National Education Association (NEA) - sponsored efforts at lobbying congressional members this week.
Additionally, that labor coalition bought $300,000 worth of television and radio ads earlier this month aimed at centrist Democratic senators and key Republicans on the entitlement issue and is considering buying additional air time.
"Make no mistake, we will not rest until Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and education are spared from cuts. We won't take our foot off the gas. So stay tuned," Chris Fleming, a spokesman for AFSCME, told CNN.