Washington (CNN) - Three major labor unions are launching a second major wave of ads Friday aimed at protecting entitlement and education programs from substantial cuts in any deal to avert the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for the first of the year, CNN has learned.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association will air ads in Virginia, Missouri, Ohio and Montana, trying to make sure any deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" protects union priorities.
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The new ads say: "If the politicians in Washington negotiate a bad deal on the budget and deficit, what do you think will happen to Medicare and Medicaid benefits? And to our coverage? Cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid will short-change the people who need it most. So if you don't want seniors to come up empty, call (name of member of Congress inserted) and tell him/her don't make a bad deal that cuts our care."
The spots are aimed at influencing Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Republican U.S. Reps. Denny Rehberg of Montana and Pat Tiberi of Ohio.
A source close to labor calls this buy, which exceeds $500,000, "significant" and is more than was spent on the first advertising campaign last month.
These unions, along with the AFL-CIO, have sponsored call-in efforts to Congress in the last few weeks, lobbying them on the issue. They are now planning "a national day of action" for Monday that will involve what organizers say will be efforts across the nation lobbying members of Congress.
"The formula for success to meet the important series of deadlines in Congress is simple: protect the very foundation of financial security hardworking Americans depend upon, and ask the wealthiest 2% to pay their fair share of taxes," Chuck Loveless, AFSCME's federal government affairs director, said in a statement. "Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid would put the well-being of millions of families and children at stake. Congress needs to pull together and pass a deal for all Americans, protect vital services and put us further down the path to prosperity."