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.
Raise tax on 250 or more earners fitting tax on middle class America. I think nation needs to get rid off GOP cult in next election and pass reforms. Period.
How about they carol against math next. These increases in taxes on the rich will have MINIMAL impact on decreasing the annual deficit. Even IF the taxes bring in the $80B / year that was supposedly lost to the rich, that means the YEARLY overspending would be $1.02 Trillion instead of the current $1.1 Trillion. We have a SPENDING issue and all Obama is willing to do is say "raise the taxes" – but not enough to actually DO anything.
People need to realize – if we are going to continue to increase spending, taxes are going up on ALL of us, not just the boogeyman "rich" person. Also, for some reason, I wouldn't expect that rich person to just take it – be prepared for salaries to go lower to make up the "fair share" some of these small business owners are now expected to pay.
Remember that each and every member of this most dysfunctional Congress in my lifetime is going to be taking the same 'ride' over the Fiscal Cliff as the American Public. Remember each and every name (Boehner, McConnell who are up for re-election in 2014) that refuses to compromise or refuses to sit down on the Presidents proposal right now and start compromising versus publically do what they've done for over 2 yrs now, posture and deliver no value for their salaries. The American People do NOT care which party is at fault because in 2 years, those who have refused to compromise like McConnell and Boehner will be thrown out of office. It's about time that the American Public learn from what McConnell's most important and primary focus was for the past 4 yrs, not us, but making sure Obama didnt have a 2nd term.....only with 360 million votes, no matter how many Republican govenors and secretaries of state try to surpress our votes....WE WILL NOT FAIL AND YOU Mr. Boehner and Mr McConnell WILL BE OUT OF A JOB!
Now sit down, close and lock the door with the decision makers inside and DO NOT COME OUT until a deal is done – Please and thank you, signed the American Public
When families have to work 4 jobs between the adults, or when 1 parent has to work out of state in order to make ends meet, something is definitely upside down w/our economy!The blatant divide between the haves & havenots grows incrementally year to year in this once proud, strong middleclass nation! Somehow we've allowed "leaders" to forward their own pet agendas to our detriment & erosion of the middleclass! We must educate ourselves & not let such people into government positions! Dem or Repub, they must work for us & the nation & they must start NOW! SS, Medicare & ACA should not be the trade off for letting W's temporary taxcuts for the upper 2% expire! I'm glad that Obama is out there talking to us, the people it will affect & that we have these groups backing us! There's A Lot of pork in governmental departments! Cut that 1st & then get back to us!!
You can bet this will be a real grassroots group fighting for America, unlike the well-funded Tea Party mob. I think it is past time for the middle class to stand up for itself.
If the Congress wants to preserve the middle class, they can. Now is the time. They can make sure those in the middle do not have a tax increase cone Jan. 1. It makes sense, it's simple........but, as usual, they are too busy fighting to do it.
Progressive is such a liar's term. Call it what it really is.......traitors to America.