Scenes from the Rally to Restore Balance & Protect America's Families
Can nonprofits match the defense industry’s challenge to the automatic cuts slated for 2013?
Washington, DC, July 25—On the same day that the Senate voted to end tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans, a broad coalition of organizations, legislators and advocates called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
The July 25 Rally to Restore Balance: Protect America’s Families was led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and featured speakers like Senator Murray (D-WA) , Congresswoman DeLauro (D-CT), Congressman Miller (D-CA), and Mayor Stanton (D) of Phoenix – all who spoke out about how cuts to Non-Defense Discretionary spending would hurt Americans.
In addition to the 300 participants who joined the rally, a small business owner and a single working mom shared stories about how their lives would be impacted by these cuts.
The rally was part of an ongoing effort, the Nondefense Discretionary Summit—or the "NDD Summit" as it's commonly referred to inside the beltway, where we love our acronyms—which is a coordinated campaign run by two main groups: the Coalition for Health Funding and the American Public Health Association. They have held two successful town hall-type events: one in June with advocates and leaders from DC-based organizations and this event on Capitol Hill on July 25.
The NDD Summit also recently circulated a letter to Congress opposing the domestic and international cuts made to programs advocates care about. Nearly 3,000 organizations signed the letter, including groups concerned with health, education, the environment, consumer protection, scientific research, housing, and many more areas with federal appropriations. In addition, the group has been lobbying key members on the Hill.
August Action: The NDD summit is expected to have pointers for attending town hall events, template letters to the editor and sample tweets for participants to use during the August recess.
We are expecting a lot to happen in January 2013 if Congress doesn’t act. The so-called Bush tax cuts for the rich are set to expire—along with improvements to programs that benefit middle - and lower-income earners. Sequestration, an automatic 8.4 percent cut to domestic, international and defense spending would be triggered. The extension of Unemployment Insurance and the Payroll Tax Cut will expire and is likely to be used for political leverage again. Congress is faced with critical choices – it is crucial that they act soon and prioritize investments in economic growth and opportunities for all of us – rather than make cuts to these important programs.
While it is impossible to predict just how severe the automatic cuts could be, it’s important to note that half of the cuts would come from Non-Defense Discretionary funding mentioned earlier and the other half would come from Defense funding. Defense contractors and rich corporations that benefit from military spending have come out in droves to voice their opposition to sequestration – and more specifically – their opposition to the $55 billion in cuts to military spending. Acknowledging this, the NDD Summit has been formed to speak out about their priorities.
“Don’t shortchange human needs priorities by protecting the rich instead of the middle class.”
While the NDD Summit doesn’t take a stance on revenue, speakers on Wednesday all echoed similar concerns about shortchanging human needs priorities by protecting the rich instead of the middle class.
Wednesday’s Senate vote to pass the Middle Class Tax Cuts Act (51-48) and end loopholes for the top 2 percent is a step in the right direction. The House will vote on its version of this legislation next week.
Want to make your voice heard? Call your Representative (1-888-744-9958) and tell them to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent (those making more than $250,000 a year). Join the NDD Summit in opposing any extension of tax cuts for the richest 2 percent, even a temporary one!
Check out the new report from Sen. Harkin (D-Iowa) analyzing sequestration's impact on state programs.