Originally posted Jan 05, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
On Tuesday, Congress approved compromise legislation that generates much-needed revenue by requiring the wealthiest to pay more in taxes, while offering an economic lifeline to the vast majority of working and unemployed Americans and their families.
The deal will:
Make tax cuts for the middle class permanent
Continue unemployment assistance for the long-term unemployed
Extend critical tax credits for working families
Delay massive across-the-board spending cuts in military and domestic programs for two months, known as sequestration.
The Upcoming Fight Over the Debt Ceiling
Unfortunately, the legislation did not raise as much new revenue as we wanted and it also sets the stage for major battles over spending cuts in the months ahead.
The legislation did not raise the federal debt ceiling, a limit set by Congress that determines how much money the federal government can borrow to pay its expenses.
If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling soon, the federal government will not be able to pay back the money it has borrowed. It is like being unable to pay the minimum balance on your credit card bill, leading to grave consequences for the US economy.
Protecting Working Families
In the weeks ahead, we must remain vigilant. Tea Party Republicans have pledged to use the federal debt ceiling as leverage to extract further cuts to vital services that protect our communities – including funds for public schools, public safety, transportation, scientific research and college loans.
They have made it clear that cuts in programs for veterans, seniors, students and low-income citizens will all be on the table. This also means that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid remain at risk. As one of our best activists, we need your help this year to protect these crucial services.
In 2012, AFSCME members were a strong and consistent voice for all working people. We sent thousands of e-mails and made scores of phone calls to Congress on issues like the fiscal cliff, the Paul Ryan budget, and the Affordable Care Act.
Together, we do make a difference.
Moving Forward in 2013
We need to continue working closely together during these challenging times and focus on real solutions in the budget debates ahead of us. There are alternatives to unnecessary, reckless cuts.
We must press Congress and President Obama to focus on job creation, which is the best way to stimulate our economy.
Working families need you, and all AFSCME members, to fight for a fairer economy that benefits all Americans.
Click here if you’re ready for the heavy lifting that needs to be done in 2013.