For immediate release: November 9, 2012 | Contact: Jeremy Saunders, 917-676-8041, Jeremy@vocal-ny.org
Medicaid/Medicare cheerleaders call on NY’s top Dem to tax the top 2% and corporations to avoid any cuts to healthcare and “entitlement” programs
View photos online or scroll down below.
(New York, New York) 50 low-income New Yorkers and their allies held a “99% Pep Rally” in front of Senator Charles Schumer’s office. With posters reading “Senator Schumer: Don’t Drop the Ball! Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security,” the cheerleaders called on the New York Senator to use the Lame Duck session to demand tax increases for the wealthiest Americans and oppose any cuts to the social safety net and other vital services. The protesters acknowledged Senator Schumer’s October 13th remarks that he supported ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%, but would be open to cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
“Schumer has already shown his willingness to sell us out, and while many of us are still without heat and electricity!” said Bobby Tolbert, a VOCAL New York board member, responding to Schumer’s remarks today that he is willing to “extend an olive branch” to the GOP by accepting a 35% tax rate for the top 2% and willing to make cuts to safety-net programs. “Instead of viewing Tuesday’s elections has a mandate to raise revenue to protect our healthcare and vital services, Senator Schumer is already willing to cut a deal protecting the rich and cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and more.”
Displaying a home-made jersey that said “Schumer, 99, Team Fair Deal,” the crowd urged the Senator to pledge to fight for a “Fair Deal” that would raise revenue and avoid domestic spending cuts. Instead, another New York Senator showed interest in joining the team.
“The most exciting thing is that Senator Gillibrand sent a representative down to hear us. We are hoping that Schumer heard us and that she can push him to do the right thing. It is time to tax the rich. Don’t cut medicare, medicaid, food stamps, public housing or programs for our kids. Do the right thing,” said Agnes Rivera, Board Chair of Community Voices Heard.
The protest, organized by VOCAL New York and Community Voices Heard, was connected to a national week of action with more than 100 prayer vigils, sit-ins, civil disobediences, and other home-district events across the country to pressure members of Congress to stand with their constituents against moneyed Wall Street interests.
The groups’ overarching message has been that neither the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” nor the “Grand Bargain” is a good option for low-income, working-class and middle-class Americans. Instead, they have offered their “Fair Deal” proposal which lays out a series of revenue raising options and principles based off the fundamental concept that what the country is facing is a revenue crisis, rather than a deficit crisis.
VOCAL-NY New York (formerly known as the New York City AIDS Housing Network – NYCAHN) is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities.
Community Voices Heard (CVH) is an organization of low-income people, predominantly women with experience on welfare, working to build power in New York City and State to improve the lives of our families and communities.