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Working America Worries Over Cuts to Social Programs

Activists, labor allies, and staff members of Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, gathered outside U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s (D-PA) Pittsburgh office today to deliver letters asking that he save “family protecting programs.”

Working America Member Coordinator Liz Laycak said the main programs they are concerned about are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  

She said Casey promised organized labor last week that he will fight to protect those federal programs.

“We do see Casey as an ally. He’s not somebody we’re targeting to get angry at. We just want to know that somebody’s going to stand up and have our voices in Washington,” said Laycak. “Working America has 500,000 members in Pennsylvania who all agree that this is something that needs to be done and we want to make sure that their voices are heard.”

Laycak said to save social programs the George W. Bush Administration tax cuts need to expire for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

“We lost a trillion dollars that should have been funneled into protecting these programs that are necessary to having a good livelihood in America,” said Laycak. “And that’s a trillion dollars that was absolutely necessary that was really just the wealthiest two percent paying their fair share. We’re not asking anything more than they pay their fair share just like the middle class.”

Laycak said they feel it is urgent that the lame duck Congress let the cuts expire. She said they are not concerned about the  January "fiscal cliff", tax increases and spending cuts to trim the deficit, because they see saving federal programs as more pressing.  While Casey and his fellow Democrats have a majority in the Senate, Republicans have a firm majority in the House.

She said labor allies went to speak with U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and were directed to give their letters to his security staff.