PDA to Congress: ‘Austerity Is Not an Option’


Educate congress headerby Pamela Powers Hannley

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) members visited roughly 200 Congressional offices nationwide on May 15 with an urgent message for their representatives: "Austerity is not an option." In addition, 2,000 PDA members called their Congressional representatives yesterday, and Robin Hood Tax supporters held demonstrations in San Francisco and Fresno. Over the past year, PDA's monthly letter drop campaign has mushroomed from a handful of offices visited to nearly half of Congress.

Once again, here in Tucson, PDA  visited the office of Representative Ron Barber. Once again, we asked him to back the Financial Speculation Tax (AKA the Robin Hood Tax) which would charge a tiny fee for every Wall Street transaction, stop speculative minute-by-minute computerized trading, bring stability to the financial markets, and generate billions of dollars for our economy. Once again, we asked him to protect the middle class, the veterans, and the poor by protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

Mr. Barber, aren't there more regular folks in CD 2 than bankers? Why would you protect Wall Street– and not your constituents?

The only thing I can say to you is, "We're not giving up, and we're not going away." 

More about yesterday's actions after the jump.

From PDA…

They fanned out across the country from Los Angeles to Phoenix, Chicago, south to Atlanta and Miami, to the towns of Western Massachusetts, in New York City and beyond, and they entered offices on Capitol Hill in a national “Educate Congress” letter-drop campaign.  Roughly 200 members of Congress were delivered this urgent message, a reminder that the country’s deteriorating condition needs to be addressed with meaningful policies that bring prosperity to Main Street.   Austerity is not an option.    

The message in the letter delivered today read, “We are voters… writing to urge you to oppose cuts to essential programs, as well as support common sense tax policies and job creation, as well as expanded, improved healthcare.”

In San Francisco, letter-drops culminated in a march from the offices of Rep. Nancy Pelosi to Sen. Diane Feinstein.  Elsewhere, visits transformed to rallies, as well. 

Workers and students, concerned citizens, all activists against austerity, banded together in this national outreach effort with profound results:  reaching nearly half the Congress.  They were members of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), joined by National Nurses United, Labor for Single Payer and others, in support of the Robin Hood Tax, now before Congress in the reintroduced Inclusive Prosperity Act, H.R. 1579.  Today’s letter-drop campaign and national call-in effort also urged passage of Medicare for All legislation and an end to cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

“We reached more than 200 congressional offices in district offices today, demanding “Prosperity Not Austerity,” said PDA National Director Tim Carpenter.  “We  also  made hundreds of phone calls into district offices, demanding our elected officials join Rep. Grayson, Rep. Takano, and dozens of other House members drawing a line in the sand against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.”

Carpenter added, “We also turned up the volume on the need to pass H.R. 1579, also known as the Financial Speculation Tax (FST) and Robin Hood Tax, that would generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year to fund job creation and help the economy, as well as protect the social safety net.  This measure would save lives and save taxpayers’ money, increase revenues and decrease financial speculation that directly causes highly-destructive fiscal bubbles. We launched this Educate Congress campaign three years ago—before the Tea Party, and before the Occupy movement.” 

A follow up national call-in effort is continuing.  Next Tuesday, PDA and others meet with Rep. Ellison and Rep. Grayson to talk about next steps to obtain co-sponsors for H.R. 1579 and signatories on a Grayson-Takano letter pledging support for social services.