Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
96 National Groups Outline Budget Priorities to White House
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Westbrook Simpson, 202.466.2061, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 29, 2013
Washington, D.C. –– As Congress moves toward a debate over the federal debt limit, almost 100 national organizations are calling on the President to stand for a budget that creates jobs; keeps Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid intact; protects our nation’s safety net; and ensures adequate revenues to preserve the basic functions of government.
The groups, representing persons of color, women, children, low- to moderate-income workers, labor unions, people with disabilities, consumers, older people, people of faith, English language learners, LGBT people, educators and environmentalists, outlined these four priority areas in a letter sent to President Obama on Monday.
As the joint letter states:
Given the current state of the economy, we are deeply troubled that some in Congress are continuing to demand substantial reductions in federal investments, removing even more money from the economy, and burdening many of the same working families that have already borne the brunt of our nation’s deficit reduction efforts – and that many of them appear willing to push the federal government into default if their demands are not met.
Our organizations and the millions of Americans we represent are relying heavily on you to stand up to this radical and irresponsible approach.
Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which convened the groups, said, "The President must recognize that, when it comes to our federal budget, these are the communities that have the most at stake. For us, unfair cuts mean families have less economic security, less access to health care, and fewer opportunities to pursue the American Dream. And, as the President said in his inauguration speech, these investments ‘do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.’ ”
The full text of the letter and list of signers are below.
January 28, 2013
Dear Mr. President:
The undersigned organizations represent persons of color, women, children, low- to moderate-income workers, labor unions, people with disabilities, consumers, older people, people of faith, English language learners, LGBT people, educators, environmentalists, and many other communities with a tremendous stake in the outcome of the ongoing budget process. As Congress moves toward a debate over the federal debt limit, our organizations urge you to insist on policies that create jobs; oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; protect our nation’s safety net; and ensure adequate revenues to preserve the basic functions of government.
Despite some important steps, the economy still has a long way to go to achieve a full recovery. More than 20 million people are in need of full-time work, and unemployment continues to hover around 8 percent. Given the current state of the economy, we are deeply troubled that some in Congress are continuing to demand substantial reductions in federal investments, removing even more money from the economy, and burdening many of the same working families that have already borne the brunt of our nation’s deficit reduction efforts – and that many of them appear willing to push the federal government into default if their demands are not met.
Our organizations and the millions of Americans we represent are relying heavily on you to stand up to this radical and irresponsible approach. We urge you to support the following principles, and to ensure that your colleagues stand for them as well:
- We need jobs, not more cuts to the programs that help the bottom 98 percent. Cutting Social Security does not create a single job. In fact, cutting programs like student financial aid, Medicaid, Medicare, education spending, and Head Start doesn’t create jobs, it eliminates them. The best thing we can do to cut our deficit long term is create more decent paying jobs by investing in our people’s education and health, and by rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. We oppose any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security benefits, or cost-shifting to beneficiaries or the states; and we oppose any cuts to safety net and vital services for low-income people.]
- We back you 100 percent on not negotiating the debt ceiling with those who have threatened to crash our economy. The Republican leadership’s new plan to suspend enforcement of the debt ceiling until May only buys them more time to continue their efforts to radically downsize the government. They have repeatedly threatened to take us to the brink of economic catastrophe, all so they can slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and other programs that help the bottom 98 percent of Americans. You have drawn a line in the sand, and we stand with you and back you to the hilt on this pledge.
- We need more tax revenue from the top 2 percent and the big corporate special interests. The recent tax increase on those making more than $450,000 was only a first step. It does not generate anywhere near enough revenue to allow for investment in the middle class and to deal with the deficit. But there are hundreds of billions of dollars in tax loopholes used by big business and the wealthy to allow them to avoid taxes that could give us more revenue. America is not broke; we just need to re-establish tax fairness and create more good jobs, and we can solve our fiscal problems.
- Across-the-board cuts in education, child nutrition, environmental protection, housing, and many more vital services should be canceled, and additional deficit reduction should not come from forcing low- and middle-income Americans to bear the burden yet again by cutting programs they depend upon. Middle- and low-income Americans bear most of the burden when it comes to reducing the deficit. So far, for every dollar of revenue increases, $2.50 in spending from services protecting our families and creating jobs has been chopped – totaling $1.5 trillion. Instead, tax loopholes that benefit the highest income individuals and corporate special interests should be closed. Cuts that hurt our ability to increase economic security, invest in the future, and protect the vulnerable will only push us back into recession.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
AFGE Women’s and Fair Practices Departments
African American Health Alliance
American Association for Affirmative Action
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Family Voices
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
Asian American Justice Center, member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Campaign for America's Future
Campaign for Community Change
Caring Across Generations
Center for Effective Government
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Children’s Defense Fund
Coalition on Human Needs
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Community Action Partnership
Compassion & Choices
Democrats for Education Reform
Disability Policy Consortium
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Education Reform Now Advocacy
Every Child Matters Education Fund
Federally Employed Women
Friends of the Earth
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Green For All
Health Care for America Now
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Leadership Center for the Common Good Action Fund
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Ms. Foundation for Women
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Inc.
National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
National Council of La Raza Action Fund, Inc.
National Council on Aging
National Council on Independent Living
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Health Law Program
National Immigration Law Center
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Partnership for Women & Families
National People's Action
National Senior Citizens Law Center
National Women's Law Center
The Partnership for Working Families
People For the American Way
PHI – Quality Care through Quality Jobs
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Public Advocates Inc.
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition
Rebuild the Dream
Social Security Works
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Strengthen Social Security Coalition
United Steelworkers (USW)
Voices for Progress