Tag Archives: austerity

Bernie Sanders on Austerity: From Greece to Puerto Rico to Arizona? (video)

#ThisIsACoup hashtag gains popularity.

#ThisIsACoup hashtag refers to Greece’s indebtedness to European banks.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman reported on an economic panel assembled by Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.

Goodman excerpted a section of Sanders’ speech on the failure of austerity policies in Greece and around the world. He said that although his comments focused primarily on Greece (and Puerto Rico), “Governments around the world are struggling with too much debt and too much inequality…

“Five years of cruel and counterproductive austerity policies… have left the people of Greece with a full-blown humanitarian crisis. In my view, there is no more obvious example of the failure of austerity policies than what is going on in Greece,” Sanders continued. Watch the Democracy Now clip below.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: From Greece to Puerto Rico, the Financial Rules Are Rigged to Favor the 1%

It’s time to break this web of debt that Wall Street, the European Banks, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the other players in the international banking cartel have on us.

If you want to learn more, I highly recommend this book. It is eye-opening!
The Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free

Also these related blog posts…
Greek Financial Crisis: The Cruelty of Austerity & The Warning for US
Essential Reading on What Wall Street Costs America
This Graphic Shows Disturbing Levels of Economic Insecurity

Remember… Austerity is a lie. There is plenty of money. The problem is that it is invested in Wall Street and not Main Street.

Email Amateur Hour: Teapublican Yarbrough Gets an Earful after Budget Vote

Steve Yarbrough

Arizona State Senator Steve Yarbrough

From Progress Now Arizona…

PHOENIX – Arizona State Senator Steve Yarbrough now knows why U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham never uses email.

On Tuesday Yarbrough, R-Chandler, sent a mass email to at least 300 constituents defending his late-night state budget vote to slash university and community college budgets, reduce per-pupil funding for public schools and pull the safety net out from under thousands of Arizonans. The text of Yarbrough’s email can be found here.

We know exactly how many people Yarbrough contacted because – you guessed it – he forgot to blind copy the list of recipients before hitting send. Political Communications 101 fail. And we also know how his constituents responded. At least a dozen ticked off, well-informed and clever recipients hit “reply all” with their comments.

It wasn’t pretty for Yarbrough. Below are just a few of the highlights (WARNING, this is long but totally worth it), with last names redacted. Enjoy!

 From “Dan”:

You admit in your email that, “Universities were cut by nearly $100 million” and that doesn’t even include the devastating cuts to Maricopa and Pima Community Colleges which brings your cuts to higher education to more than $110M.

 With these cuts that you voted for you have guaranteed that Arizona will remain in the lowest tier of the states for future quality job growth for decades.  You are essentially locking many of our children into dead-end low-wage jobs or forcing them to move out of state to pursue higher education and 21st century jobs. I know many parents with children will remember your vote in the next election. I know I will.

From “Bea,” a lifelong Republican

I agree with all of the others that have said that you, or your office intern should learn how to BCC that many email addresses, or how to set up a group in your mail program – maybe call it something like  – “Mad as heck parents who don’t like short changed education”.

The AZLeg has been cutting money in our K-12 programs at an alarming rate since 2008.  Cuts have been over 40% in that time frame (adjusted for inflation).  This is unacceptable!

 How can we ever expect to bring high paying jobs and economic development to this amazing state if we are not willing to support an education system that helps to produce educated graduates that are ready to move either into the workforce, technical schools, community college or universities.   Economic growth is spurred on by an educated citizenry coupled with a business friendly environment that has reasonably taxes and regulations.

Continue reading

No country for austerity pushing Democrats

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

deficit cutting

My biggest problem with centrist establishment Democrats has been their insistence on trying to prove they’re the bigger grown-ups in the room by embracing punitive conservative economic ideas and more successfully implementing them. Welfare reform was a perfect example of this. Democratic support for it, including President Clinton’s, was supposed to neutralize the issue for Democrats forever. Oddly, though, I never noticed the tendency of voters to associate Democrats with “welfare” to diminish. What happened was that the idea of “welfare” simply expanded to include any public assistance whatsoever, whether or not the recipient worked for wages, and then further to mean 47% of the country. People still defend welfare reform to me on the policy merits but no one can reasonably argue that it was a long-term political success for Democrats, unless they want to make the perverse case that Mitt Romney lost because at least half the country was offended that he thought they were on welfare.

President Obama embraced deficit reduction from the beginning of his presidency. And he did succeed in shrinking the deficit. Does he get any credit for it? Nope. Continue reading

Poor People’s Party: Occupy Tucson, PDA, and NNU Celebrate Occupy’s 2nd Anniversary

OT-sidewalk96-sig-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Two years ago, the Occupy Movement– with its simple “We Are the 99%!” message– united the world by enlightening us to the workings of the corporate oligarchy and the governments they run (including our own) and how this system is designed to keep us down.
Worldwide, Occupy encampments sprang up in 2011.

On the second anniversary of Occupy, there will be worldwide protests against austerity.
Here at home the anniversary will be marked with a Poor People’s Party.

Here is the information from Occupy Tucson.

This Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, beginning at 6:00 pm, Occupy Tucson, National Nurses United, and Progressive Democrats of America are hosting a Poor People’s Party to offer a collective response to the global austerity measures foisted upon us.

Come to 225 E 26th Street and check out the new national headquarters for the Alliance for Global Justice

We’re having a pot-luck supper, free movies, free games, and a chance to video-record personal responses to “What Austerity Means to Me.”

Please spread the word. Bring your favorite games. Let’s have some fun. That’s the best response to a widening wealth gap, a corrupt political system, and a ramped-up hyper-militarized police state.

In Light of Local Poverty, Tucson Needs Creative Direction & Progressive Economic Ideas

Development33-sig-sm72by Pamlea Powers Hannley

Business friendly? Tucson’s been there, done that, … and got the t-shirt at Goodwill. As former City Councilwoman Molly McKasson said, we put all of our eggs in the development basket and look where it got us.

Twenty percent of Tucsonans are living in poverty.

Thirty percent of Tucson children are living in poverty.

Fifty-two percent of Tucson children live in a one-parent household.

Seventy-one percent of Tucson Unified School District students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. (Statistics from the Arizona Daily Star.)

How did we get here?

The Back Story on Tucson’s Poverty Rate

In a November 2011 “What If?” article published just a few days before the last mayoral election, former Arizona Daily Star reporter Josh Brodesky interviewed activist, writer, and artist McKasson and mused about how Tucson would be different today if she had beaten former Mayor Bob Walkup back in their 1999 match-up.

I remember that election well. Walkup– a former Hughes Aircraft executive and former head of the Greater Tucson Economic Council– was the quintessential business candidate. Bankrolled by Tucson’s business community, Walkup’s campaign successfully painted McKasson as a flighty hippie artist whose no-growth, tree-hugging, water-conserving policies would be bad for Tucson (ie, bad for business and bad for growth). Meanwhile, Walkup was championed as a business savvy savior who successfully ran a business, and, therefore, (of course!) could successfully run a city.

As mayor, the glad-handing, ribbon-cutting Walkup promoted business development, Rio Nuevo, and ill-conceived, taxpayer-funded private projects like the downtown hotel (which went down in flames, thank goodness). Except for his pro-business, pro-growth cheerleading, Walkup was a do-nothing mayor who depended upon defense funding, the occasional TREO call center moving to Tucson, and housing boom construction jobs to bolster Tucson’s chronically low-wage tourist economy. The Tucson Weekly’s endorsement of McKasson (here) eerily  predicts what happened to Tucson under three terms of Walkup. Read it and more background and new ideas after the jump.

WE’RE TIRED OF:

· City Council members who favor big-money interests like Wal-Mart and Home Depot over local merchants and local neighborhoods.

· Unlimited annexations to keep large-scale developers happy while we, the taxpayers, foot their infrastructure bills and cope with their sprawl.

· Hearing delightful rumors about the latest big employer to hit town, only to find out it’s yet another low-wage phone service center.

· Duplicitous “Democrats” like Shirley Scott and George Miller [check outMiller's quote about midway into this article] pretending to be for the people while scrambling to serve overly demanding developers and cheap-shit, out-of-state corporations.

· Car-culture crazies clamoring for more and wider roads with no thought to the future. [I hope theBroadway Coalitionsuccessfully scales back the unwarranted widening of Broadway Blvd.]

· Phoenix-based billboard barons who believe they have the right to exhibit their hideous erections [love it!] anywhere they please over our heads….

McKasson, who has written about Poverty in Tucson, offers a telling summation of the business friendly Walkup era in the Brodesky article:

[McKasson] sees the repercussions of the housing crisis here – the vacancies, our high poverty rate, foreclosures ringing the city – as reflective of our failure to develop a dynamic workforce.

“How interesting, and how sad, that we should hit a point that having put all of our eggs into the basket of development, lo and behold we hit the wall[economically speaking].”

Now Look Where We Are

Why local history lesson? Looking back at the 12-year Walkup era gives us insight into the problems of poverty in Tucson today. By hiring a business development cheerleader as mayor and putting all of our eggs in the development basket, poverty in Tucson has skyrocketed. (Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t give the Arizona Legislature and Governor Jan Brewer at least half the “credit” for Tucson’s poverty rate. With tight ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Legislature attempts multiple anti-union, anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-voter, anti-immigrant, anti-education AND pro-corporate bills every year– like this one banning  a living wage in Arizona or this one intended to deny unemployment benefits or this one intended to suppress voter initiatives and voting altogether or multiple years of “balancing” the state budget on the backs of children.)

In Sunday’s newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star began a week-long series about the extent of poverty in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Tucson Kids Pay Poverty’s High Price and related other articles harken back to the day when the Star had a full staff of qualified reporters. It’s an excellent article; so, I’m not going to rehash the whole thing– just offer a few high points (or actually low points) :

One in three kids age 18 and younger inside our city limits lives in poverty. Statewide, the rate is one in four. Nationwide, it’s one in five.

The recession spiked poverty nationwide, but the surge went deeper here.

As the government cut cash assistance, federal grant money and child-support subsidies, the safety net that once caught Arizona families frayed. [Remember, Congressional Republicans and Republicans in the Arizona Legislature and elsewhere want to cut these programs further.]

The situation in Tucson was aggravated by our job market, which is dominated by a service industry that pays barely livable wages and often offers only part-time jobs. Compared with the U.S. and state averages, we also have a higher percentage of single-parent households, which are more likely to be strapped for money.

More than half of the babies born in Pima County have mothers who qualify for Medicaid, the government health-care program for the poorest Arizonans.

The percentage of children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch in the Tucson Unified School District jumped from 57 percent in 2006 to the current 71 percent, well above the state average of 59 percent. In some low-income schools, 60 percent of the student body is transient, either leaving or enrolling after the first day of the academic year…

Arizona is one of the poorest states not only under the U.S. Census’ traditional poverty measure, but also taking into account government payments and local cost of living. [Why does the Legislature keep cutting corporate taxes if we are one of the poorest states?]About 23,000 Pima County children have a parent who is either incarcerated or on probation. [Thank you ALEC! We have to keep those private prisons full of immigrants and drug fiends.]

More than half – 52 percent – of Tucson kids live in single-parent homes, far higher than the 35 percent national average. [Thank you, abstinence only sex ed classes!]

Tucson’s wages are below the national average, but the cost of living here is not proportionately lower.

The number of Pima County residents receiving food stamps doubled in the last six years. [Why did Congressman Ron Barber vote to cut food stamps?]

The metro Tucson area includes two American Indian reservations, which have high unemployment.

The city and county receive one-quarter to one-third less federal money to support needy families than they did in 2001. [Isn't austerity grand?]

The number of Arizona children receiving state subsidies for child care has dropped by nearly 20,000 since 2009.

The recession made affordable housing tougher to find as foreclosures sent demand for apartments soaring.

More than one-third of the new jobs in Tucson since 2009 have been temporary positions.

What a disgusting list of statistics.

How Did this Happen?

Nearly every item on this list could have been avoided, but I take issue with the Star’s assertion that, “As a region we’ve made political decisions to bypass economic opportunities.” (Come on, did Jim Click or Mike Varney write that?) I also take issue with the Star’s blame-it-on-Phoenix line, “Our proximity to Phoenix impedes our chances with companies looking to relocate to Arizona,” and with former Mayor George Miller’s blame-the-rape-victim swipe at no-growth NIMBYs. (They’re just making excuses for TREO‘s ineffectiveness here. In a rare lucid moment, even Republican State Superintendent of Instruction John Huppenthal said that “corporate giveaways” and “buying growth, making these deals” is a corrupt, and “That’s what loser states do.” Did he have a brain transplant while I wasn’t looking?)

If federal, state, and local governments would have adopted progressive economic policies instead of regressive policies that benefit only the rich AND If our state Legislature and the Congress were not owned by ALEC and multinational corporations, we the people would be in much better shape. I place the blame for these poverty statistics squarely in the laps of the Republican Party and their 1% masters. They created this scenario in Tucson and other cities nationwide, and if they have their way, austerity cuts for average Americans will deepen. Republican-led Legislatures and the Republican-led House of Representatives want to push all of us– or at least 99% of us– further down the economic ladder. Cutting, defunding, or crippling food stamps, school lunch programs (used by 71% of TUSD students!),women’s reproductive health services, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and theAffordable Care Act– while funding pork barrel projects for the Pentagon and agri-business; bolstering private prisons; suppressing voter and worker rights; and “rethinking” the minimum (down, not up)– is their agenda (as dictated by ALEC).

As the Arizona Blue Meanie recently wrote, the Tea Party Republicans want to “repeal the 20th century.” Who needs a minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, unions, paid vacation and sick leave, child labor laws, healthcare, affordable (or free contraception), abortion and family planning, direct election of US Senators, public education… need I go on? (And why did we ever allow women to vote in the first place?!) This is class warfare, people.

What Can We Do?

Here is a short list of progressive economic policies that could help Tucson and other impoverished state and local governments dig themselves out of the hole their in. Some are local strategies, while others are national strategies.

Free Organized Labor. Historic data shows that when a higher percentage of the populace works under a union contract, overall wages are higher. Right-to-work states like Arizona have lower wages than states that have higher rates of union workers. (When unionizing in Tucson, I suggest starting with classified staff in the university system. Thousands of university employees work uncompensated overtime regularly. Just think how much money would be injected into the local economy if University of Arizona employees were paid for every hour they worked or if the University had the money to hire the staff it needs.

Invest Locally and Foster Research. Instead of competing with other cities by offering land or tax breaks to lure companies to Tucson, take all of the government money that now goes to TREO and invest in local business and local research. (TREO can keep the corporate membership funds.) Invest the governmental funds in Tucson by: 1) offering grants or low-cost loans for local Tucson-based businesses who have solid expansion ideas and 2) offering small pilot research grants to the UA. Seed grants for pilot research projects allow scientists to gather preliminary data, which makes them more competitive for large national grants. Plus– research projects and UA inventions often spawn high-tech Tucson businesses and provide jobs for college graduates who are now leaving Tucson after graduation. (I’d rather work for Ventana Medical Systems than a TREO call center any day.)

Eliminate Public Funding of Private Projects. Bankrolling business development is a bad idea; let the invisible hand of the market work. Tinkering in capitalism has gotten Tucson nowhere. Capitalism is all about taking risks and making big bucks if you are successful. Banks should be lending developers money– not taxpayers. In aNovember 2011 Star article on TREO, then Mayor-elect Rothschild said he wanted to make sure that Tucson’s investment in TREO was worthwhile, ”I want to give TREO specific (performance) markers. … What is the return on that dollar?” It’s been almost 2 years. Let’s rethink that investment and others that are on the table like redevelopment of the Ronstadt Transit Center.

Establish a Public Bank. Currently state and local governments keep their money in private commercial banks, which charge fees and invest that money on Wall Street– thus making money on our money by investing it out of state. By establishing a public bank, the governmental entity controls its own money, thus saving the cost of bank fees and freeing up the governmental entity to invest locally. Public banks — like the Public Bank of North Dakota– can help build local economies, create jobs, and/or relieve debt. As suggested above, Tucson or Pima County could establish a public bank and foster economic development by offering low-cost loans to Tucson businesses and offering seed grants to researchers. A public bank could also buy of toxic mortgages and help underwater homeowners. These ideas directly help the people.

Pass the Robin Hood Tax. Also known as the Financial Speculation Tax, the Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on each Wall Street transaction. This would not only raise billions of dollars annually, it would also eliminate computerized micro-trading, where stocks and bonds are bought and sold in an instant. (This type of trading adds volatility but not value to the market.)

Pass Universal Healthcare. The Affordable Care Act– AKA Obamacare or Romneycare– was a Republican compromise. Yes, it’s better than no reform (whichPaul Ryan and other Republicans prefer), but it is hugely complicated and flawed. By far the #1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy and lose their homes is they can’t pay their medical bills. With Romneycare, 98% of Massachusetts residents have healthcare insurance, but Romneycare (the model for Obamacare) has not significantly reduced the medical bankruptcy rate.

Raise the Minimum Wage. This is a no-brainer. How many economists have to say that the way to stimulate the economy and encourage growth and prosperity is to put money in the pockets of Americans? Even George Bush tried it by sending all of us $200 checks. (Here’s a hint, George, hgher wages would have been a better idea.) Congress needs to stop the posturing and do something. $10/hour + health insurance nationwide will do more than corporate tax cuts to make the US economy boom again.

Fund FREE Contraception and Family Planning Services, FULL Reproductive Rights, and Planned Partenthood.Poverty IS a women’s issue. This fact is fully evident in the Arizona Daily Star’s Sunday’s story – just look at the photo on the front page– a young woman in a homeless shelter with her infant. Republican cuts to reproductive health services nationwide will raise the rate of single-parent households, raise the rate of children born in poverty, raise the school dropout rate, and raise the prison population rate. This is what ALEC wants, but it is obviously not good for the American people. Republican-led State Legislatures in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota, and elsewhere proposed more than 300 individual pieces of legislationin 2013 to limit women’s health choices, eliminate funding for free or affordable contraception, and close abortion clinics. In the courts, corporate people– like Hobby Lobby– are chipping away at insurance coverage for contraception in the Affordable Care Act because contraception goes against Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs. I want to know where Hobby Lobby goes to church and what denomination Hobby Lobby is. Does Hobby Lobby tithe?  Secular corporations like Hobby Lobby suing to defund contraception as part of health insurance is a sexist corporate strategy to save money– nothing more. Hobby Lobby– What would Jesus do?

Keep the press free. Corporate media is in a dismal state. Network television “news” is nonexistent. Newspapers are folding. The advertising model for news distribution doesn’t work. Now what? Blogs have filled some of the news gap, but you get what you pay for. Since most bloggers are unpaid, you can read what they want to write when they want to write it. Non-profit funding of investigative journalism is evolving. In the meantime, we must fight to keep free and open access to the Internet.

I could go on… end corporate personhood, get money out of politics, establish community wellness centers, fully fund public education, fully fund scientific research, excuse student loan debt, pass Glass Steagall, cut military spending, decriminalize marijuana and stop wholesale incarceration of young adults for victimless crimes, fix immigration and establish a path to citizenship… but you get the idea. The Republicans are lying to us. We don’t need austerity. This country has plenty of money and talent to flourish. The money is stashed away in the bank accounts of the wealthy– instead of in the hands of the people who can really jump start the economy and create jobs– US.

UPDATE: Below are links to the Arizona Daily Star series on local poverty. The Star is to be commended for this very powerful and informative series. One glaring omission is the role wrong-headed laws crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and passed by Republican legislatures (like Arizona's) have played in creating and perpetuating the cycle of poverty across the US. Budget cuts to social safety net programs and public education– coupled with racist mandatory sentencing laws, suppressed wages, schizophrenic immigration policies, a broken healthcare system, and a booming private prison industry– have helped keep the 99% down and the 1% in power.

Sunday: Tucson kids pay poverty's high price

Monday: Special report: Young moms, kids barely making it

Tuesday: Many Tucson Jobs Are Low-Pay

Wednesday: Many Struggle to Find a Place to Live

Thursday: Tribes Confront Complex Problems

Friday: Jail, Prison Bring Sentence of Poverty

Saturday: Child Care's Cost Prolongs Poverty

The story was originally posted on Tucson-Progressive.com. Check out that version here, if you want to see more photos of business friendly development downtown. Like what you read? Follow me on Facebook, here.

Misplaced Congressional Priorities: Pork for the Pentagon but Not for Children

Pentagon-moneyby Pamela Powers Hannley

During the Bush II Era, excessive deficit spending was no big deal for Republicans. Congressional Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lindsay Graham, and even current “budget hawk” Paul Ryan “spent money like drunken sailors”– particularly when the spending benefited the 1% (remember the tax cuts we couldn’t afford?) or corporations (two wars, Medicare Advantage, off-shoring jobs, more tax cuts, privatization, etc.)

But as soon as a Democratic President occupied the White House, the siren song became: We must tighten our belts and live within our means! Cut government jobs…er… spending! Cut Social Security… er… “entitlements”! 

This austerity screed intensified after the Democratic “shellacking” in 2010 when Teapublicans took control of the House of Representatives and the budget, and Senate Teapublicans began playing games with people’s lives by filibustering everything. (No wonder Congress has a 16% approval rating.)

For the past few months, Congress has been weighing the pros and cons of budget cuts and pork barrel projects. Food stamps and schools lunches are on the chopping block, while the Congress considers passing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, which authorizes $640 billion more in defense spending than the Pentagon asked for. (This action was passed by the House Armed Services committee last week; the full vote in the House of Representatives is scheduled for today– Wednesday, June 12.) More details about Pentegon pork after the jump.

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) is calling on Americans nationwide to call their representatives and ask them to support amendments to audit and tighten the Pentagon budget (while protecting healthcare and other programs for troops and veterans), rein in the lethal drone program, and end the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that gave a green light to the past decade of endless warfare.

Even some conservatives believe that the Pentagon budget could be cut– safely. Defending America, Defending Taxpayers recently released a report detailing 100 specific recommendations for cuts to the Department of Defense (DoD) budget—the nation’s largest agency. The cuts total more than $1.8 trillion. So, why do Republican “budget hawks” want to give the Pentagon billions more than they asked for?

Increases in defense spending are particularly heinous when Congress is poised toinflict more economic pain on American citizens with cuts to education and social safety net programs. The most recent target for budget cuts are the food stamp program and school lunches– poverty-related programs included in the Farm Bill. Progressives are asking: Why not end hunger, rather than force it on more poor children? The House version of the Farm Bill cuts $20 billion from food stamps, while the Senate version cuts $4 billion.

Due to the Great Recession and the proliferation of low-wage jobs available during the “recovery”, the number of Americans using food stamps has increased 70%. More Americans than ever need the food stamp program, according to an article in In These Times.

More from In These Times

At this stage, it will likely be difficult to prevent any cuts from taking place. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of the cuts in Congress, conceded that “the odds are against us.” McGovern has co-authored an amendment to restore funding to SNAP, which has garnered the support of over 130 Democrats in the House so far.

In an interview with In These Times, McGovern blamed the Republican Party’s hostility toward social spending and general ignorance of the issues facing low-income people for the severity of the cuts. But he also expressed frustration with members of his own party for failing to speak out on the issue. “If the Democratic Party doesn’t stand with the poor and the vulnerable then I don’t know what the hell we stand for,” McGovern said.

Neither House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) nor House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have signed on to the amendment calling to restore SNAP funding.

“There’s this view that there’s no political consequence, if you cut programs to hurt poor people, then you won’t lose an election,” McGovern said. “Whereas if you overturn a tax cut or if you vote against a trade agreement or vote against the gun lobby, there’s a political consequence. I think many of my colleagues are gambling that if they vote to chip away at the safety net in this country, then nobody will notice, nobody will care, [and] that they won’t lose their election.”

While the response to SNAP cuts in Washington has so far been limited, opponents of the cuts are planning on ramping up their pressure on Congress in the coming weeks.

Twenty-six members of Congress, including McGovern, have pledged to live on a SNAP budget between June 13 and 19. They will be joined by representatives from an array of anti-poverty organizations, like the Food Research and Action Center, NeighborWorks America, the American Association of Retired Persons and religious groups.  Meanwhile, on June 17, the earliest date that the House could take up the farm bill, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) will hold a series of demonstrations across the country calling on influential Democratic members of Congress to prevent the cuts from taking place. PDA is holding actions at the district offices of Pelosi, Hoyer, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). [Emphasis added.]

Call your Congressional representative today and urge them to vote with the people and not the military industrial complex. Cut the Pentagon budget– don’t increase it by billions.

Stay tuned for information on how you can become more involved in PDA’s street heat campaign, mentioned above. There will be letter drops at Congressional officesin Arizona next week.