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Activists Demonstrate In Manchester and Concord: ‘Middle Class Over Millionaires’

The Action makes a final push for Congressmen Bass and Guinta to put aside partisan politics and do what is best for the middle class.

The Action, a joint project of Granite State Progress and the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action, demonstrated outside the Concord office of lame duck Rep. Charlie Bass and the Manchester office of lame duck Rep. Frank Guinta today to demand that the House get back to work to stop the country from going over the fiscal cliff and protect the middle class by maintaining the current tax rates for 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses.

“The House is returning to Washington in a couple of days and we’re asking Congressman Frank Guinta to do the right thing and vote for an extension of the middle-class cuts.  These tax cuts for 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners will allow New Hampshire taxpayers to keep $2000 that they can spend in our local economy and speed our recovery,” The Action press secretary Keith McCrea said outside Guinta’s office on Lowell St. in downtown Manchester. “After Speaker Boehner’s failure to secure the votes for his own caucus for his ‘Plan B,’ time is running short. Please, Congressman Guinta, vote to extend the middle-class tax cuts and urge your leader, Speaker John Boehner, to bring it to a vote.”

The House, including lame ducks Bass and Guinta,  spent last week on vacation while the Senate and Pres. Obama have returned to DC to try to find a solution to the on-going uncertainty created by the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ After the failure of Speaker Boehner’s ‘Plan B,’ the GOP leadership of the House has failed to offer any solutions while the Senate passed a bill over the summer to protect the middle-class. Speaker Boehner has refused to bring this bill to a vote.

With less than one week till the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ deadline people are seriously beginning to worry about what this would mean to them.  A tax increase would mean thousands of dollars more being taken out in taxes from the middle class.  This after nearly four years of belt-tightening budgeting and high unemployment.  Now as the economy is sluggishly moving into recovery, middle class families will be whacked with a new increase and be forced to make more personal budget cuts.

As if a tax increase on the middle class was not enough, workers have been paying the price for years now.  Healthcare costs are rising, profits are soaring, and yet wages are stagnent.  Add a new $2000 or more tax middle class families are again losing money over last year.

We need our elected officials to stand up and do what is right for the middle class.  

(video from Patch.com)

ABOUT THE ACTION: The Action NH is a joint project of NH Citizens Alliance for Action and Granite State Progress, and part of a national grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%—those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.

The Action has demonstrated from Pittsburg, at a town hall for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, to Nashua where they delivered over 400 petition signatures to Congressman Charlie Bass’s office urging him to vote for middle-class tax relief. We’ve been joined by small business owners from florists to jewelers, by volunteers and students, and by elected leaders from across the state. Hundreds have joined the call and their actions have been covered by media outlets including WBIN tv, NHPR, the Concord Monitor, the Nashua Telegraph, NH Patch, and local radio stations throughout the state.

Congressmen Guinta and Bass Need To Support The 98%

Tammy Siekmann is the chair of the Londonderry Democrats

An guest editorial by Tammy Siekmann

Broad agreement is something that has been sadly missing in Washington in the last several years. Members of Congress in both the House and the Senate, officials in the Obama Administration from the president to the secretaries of State and Defense, the nation’s economists and business leaders and citizens’ groups from across the political spectrum all agree – raising taxes on 98% of all Americans and 97% of small businesses would hobble the recovery and could drive the US back into recession.

That’s why I’m involved in a grassroots movement that’s urging Congressmen Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta to support an up-or-down vote on a bill currently waiting for a vote in the House that would keep in place the current tax rates on the middle-class and keep us away from the fiscal cliff. We’re called The Action and we believe that we can raise the necessary revenue to begin spending down the debt and to protect middle-class taxpayers by raising taxes on the top two percent of taxpayers.

The Senate has already passed the bill that would that keep tax cuts in place for the 98%. As Pres. Obama put it last month, “(l)et’s begin our work with where we agree. If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as the House sends it my way.”

(CNN.com “GOP divide over Obama tax plan goes public,” Tom Cohen, November 28, 2012 http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/28/politics/fiscal-cliff/index.html).

While partisan posturing in Washington is hardly new or novel, we believe that this presents a chance to provide revenue to start paying down the debt and to strengthen the recovery during the holiday season and into the new year. Republicans want to keep middle-class taxes low and to find solutions to the deficit. Democrats want to keep middle-taxes low and to find solutions to the deficit. The bill the Senate passed does both – and everyone agrees.

This makes the debate about the fiscal cliff all the more frustrating.  Can things really be so bad in Washington that something that everyone agrees on is still held hostage to partisan wrangling? We don’t think it is, because we believe that, especially at the holidays, people can put agendas aside to work for the common good.

Reps. Bass and Guinta have a chance, before they leave Congress, to help set the tone for the future by putting behind the paralytic partisanship that has crippled the current Congress and to make clear that they truly support low taxes on the middle-class and believe we need to take serious steps to reduce the debt. Both have spoken passionately about these issues and now they have a chance to demonstrate it with their votes.

The nation simply cannot afford to double down on tax cuts for the super-rich will cost the rest of us $1 trillion. If we spend that money on tax cuts for the wealthy, we will not be able to provide the basic building blocks of opportunity to that make it possible for average, working people to get ahead. Pres. Obama made wealthiest Americans pay a little more – their fair share – a central theme of his campaign. This theme won him New Hampshire’s electoral votes and a second term.

If we spend that money on tax cuts for the wealthy, budget shortfalls will force into overcrowded classrooms and we won’t be able to ensure our children are educated for the jobs and challenges of the future. Tax cuts for the wealthy means fewer Pell Grants, fewer Head Starts and more kindergarteners shoved into crowded classrooms.

We have a choice to make. We can choose to be a country where everyone pays their fair share or we can be a nation in which there are the very rich, and then there is everyone else.  It’s a choice between the failed, top-down policies of the past and growing the economy from the middle out by investing in education, research, innovation and technology.  I hope that Congressmen Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass will realize this – and support the middle-class by supporting an up-or-down vote on tax cuts for the 98%.

Tammy Siekmann is town chair for the Londonderry Democrats


New Grassroots Organization Called ‘The Action’ Launches Petition For A Vote On Middle Class Tax Cuts

Grassroots organization launches online petition urging Congressmen Bass, Guinta to do their jobs for 98%

Grassroots  group The Action plans to deliver petitions to lame ducks next week

Concord – Congressmen Charlie Bass (NH-2) and Frank Guinta (NH-1) may have lost their re-election bids, but they are still representing us in Washington as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations begin. Today saw the release of an online petition urging Bass and Guinta to support efforts in the House to bring to a vote a bill, already passed by the Senate, which would maintain tax cuts for 98% of all Americans and 97% of small businesses. Activists will be delivering these petitions to later in the month.

Taylor Coots, state director for The Action (www.theaction.org), the group organizing the petition drive explained the effort.

“An extension for the middle class tax cut is through the Senate, but Speaker Boehner won’t bring it to the House floor for an up or down vote.  It is high time Congressmen Bass and Guinta do the right thing, break with the Speaker, and put New Hampshire middle class families ahead of Washington politics.”

A ‘discharge petition’ is currently being circulated in the House of Representatives and would give the House a chance for an up-or-down vote on a $2,000 tax cut for 98% of Americans.  Voters in New Hampshire are urging our congressmen – both of whom have long advocated for low taxes and middle-class economic health – to demonstrate their support for both low taxes and the middle class by signing the discharge petition and voting in support of the Senate bill.

Pres. Obama has advocated starting the process of getting the nation’s budget house in order with this measure. “Let’s begin our work with where we agree,” the president said, observing that the Senate has already passed the bill and that both parties agree that increasing middle-class taxes would hobble the recovery. “If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as the House sends it my way.”

(CNN.com “GOP divide over Obama tax plan goes public,” Tom Cohen, November 28, 2012 http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/28/politics/fiscal-cliff/index.html).

ABOUT THE ACTION: The Action is a grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%—those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs.  New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action is leading the charge in New Hampshire.

Changing the Rules of the Game

In Congress – as in wrestling – sometimes the rules make the all the difference in who wins or loses.

That’s why the upcoming fight over the Senate filibuster means a lot to working families.

The filibuster is a procedural method that the minority party can use to perpetually delay any legislation it doesn’t like.  If a bill doesn’t get to the Senate floor for a vote, it doesn’t ever get passed – even if a majority of the Senate would vote to approve it.  It’s a back-door way for the minority party to kill legislation, or at least hold the bill up in Committee until it is amended to the satisfaction of the filibustering Senators.

photo by Diane Beckwith-Zink via Flikr

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
photo by Diane Beckwith-Zink via Flikr/Creative Commons

Remember two years ago, when Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown “single-handedly” blocked an extension of unemployment benefits?  Senate Republicans used the filibuster to hold up the bill until it was amended to include an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.  (The final version cost $900 billion; but only 6% of that cost was for unemployment benefits.)

That’s how the filibuster works – and works against working families.

Using the Senate filibuster to kill legislation is such an “inside game” that – at least as far as we can tell – no one has been tracking filibusters in recent years.  But during the last campaign season, Progress Massachusetts looked closely at Scott Brown’s voting record and came up with 40 bills that would have passed the Senate – if they hadn’t been killed by a Republican filibuster.  The list includes:

  • Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (the original financial regulatory reform bill);
  • Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act;
  • Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act of 2010;
  • American Jobs Act of 2011;
  • Rebuild America Jobs Act;
  • Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2011; and
  • The Buffett Rule (a 30% effective tax rate on income exceeding $1 million).

All of those bills would have passed the Senate – if they had ever gotten to the floor for a vote.

So, here’s what may be changing:

Yesterday, Majority Leader Harry Reid said that when the Senate is sworn in next January, “he will attempt to diminish the power of Republicans to slow or stop legislation by putting limits on the filibuster. …Mr. Reid would like to limit what procedural motions are subject to filibusters, and to force senators to return to the practice of standing around forever, reading the phone book or what have you, if they choose to filibuster a bill before its final passage.”

Yes, it will be just a procedural change to Senate Rules (if it happens).

But just think where our country might be, now, if the Senate had been able to actually vote on all those bills that Scott Brown helped block.


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