146 National Groups Outline Priorities to Avoid ‘Fiscal Slope’

Media 11.9,12

Washington, D.C. –As our nation approaches the so-called “fiscal slope,” 146 national organizations are calling on President Obama and Congress to work together to prioritize job creation, oppose benefit cuts to social insurance programs, protect the safety net, and require corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share.

In a letter sent Friday to President Obama and congressional leaders of both chambers, the organizations representing working people, people of color, low-income communities, women, people with disabilities, faith communities, and good government advocates set out five urgent priorities that should be part of any budget agreement.

  • The letter outlining these concerns and a full list of signatories are below this statement.
  • The groups have also highlighted their priorities in a full-page Thursday ad in The Washington Post.

The joint letter states:

As you work to craft a resolution to these economic and fiscal challenges, we urge you to embrace the call of the American people to focus on job creation and avoid any actions that would cost jobs, oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, protect our nation’s safety net, and oppose any extension of the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans.   

And continues:

Given the current state of the economy, we have serious concerns that many of the proposals under consideration would require substantial reductions in federal investments, removing even more money from the economy and burdening many of the same working families that have already borne the brunt of our nation’s deficit reduction efforts.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said, “After bearing the brunt of the recession, our communities – working people, low-income communities, women, seniors, people with disabilities and people of color – are demanding a fair deal, not a raw deal. That means creating jobs and opportunity, not cutting the safety net or Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and asking the wealthiest Americans and corporations to pay their fair share. Nothing less will do.”

AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka said, “On Tuesday the American people said ‘no’ to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefit cuts and ‘no’ to another tax cut for the richest two percent. And we intend to make sure Congress listens.”

Deepak Bhargava, executive director, Center for Community Change, said, “The fiscal cliff is really a showdown between jobs and austerity. What America needs right now are more jobs – quality jobs that pay living wages, guarantee the right to collectively bargain and organize, and are accessible to the people who are looking for work right now. Congress needs to reject austerity and invest in an economy that can deliver shared prosperity.”

The full text of the letter and list of signers are below.


November 9, 2012

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

The undersigned, representing 146 national organizations, understand the urgent budget decisions we face as a nation over the next few months.  As you work to craft a resolution to these economic and fiscal challenges, we urge you to embrace the call of the American people to focus on job creation and avoid any actions that would cost jobs; oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; protect our nation’s safety net; and oppose any extension of the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans.   

Despite some important steps, the economy still has a long way to go to achieve a full recovery.  More than 20 million people are in need of full-time work, and unemployment continues to hover around 8 percent.  Given the current state of the economy, we have serious concerns that many of the proposals under consideration would require substantial reductions in federal investments, removing even more money from the economy and burdening many of the same working families that have already borne the brunt of our nation’s deficit reduction efforts. 

With these pressing concerns in mind, we urge that any budget agreement adopted must include:

Creating jobs and growing the economy. While our economy is still struggling, we urge you to prioritize job creation and economic growth in any agreement adopted.  It must include steps to spur private investment and to create targeted investments in infrastructure and education that will grow the economy and create quality jobs. There are proposals available to that end, including the American Jobs Act.  It is imperative that the administration and Congress address this urgent need.

No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security benefits or shifting costs to beneficiaries or the states.   Millions of seniors, children, people with disabilities, and others, depend on these vital programs and they must not be cut. They are a cornerstone of our nation’s health care and retirement systems, and a promise made to future generations.

No cuts to the safety net and vital services for low-income people.  We should not allow the fiscal burden to be shifted to poor and working families who have already borne a disproportionate share of the nation’s economic pain in recent years.

Stopping the sequester.   We share the concerns of economists, small business owners, state and local governments, and the millions of individuals we represent, that sequestration will harm our fragile recovery, will result in a substantial loss of jobs in both the public and private sectors, and will make harmful cuts in vital services needed to promote health, development, and economic security for people and communities nationwide that have already sustained $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction losses. We urge Congress to stop the sequester with a responsible solution that includes new revenue.

Requiring the wealthiest and corporations to pay their fair share, starting with ending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent.  We urge you to allow tax cuts that benefit only the richest

2 percent to expire on schedule, which would save nearly $1 trillion in revenues and reduced interest payments. While a wide range of programs have been cut in recent years, the very wealthy and corporations have so far not been required to contribute a penny in additional revenues toward deficit reduction.  Securing substantial new revenue from those with the greatest ability to contribute will allow us to meet deficit reduction goals, chart a more sustainable fiscal path forward, invest in the job creation measures our economy needs, and protect the programs and services that families depend upon.

Thank you for your consideration. Please contact Nancy Zirkin, The Leadership Conference at (202) 263-2880, [email protected]; Kelly Ross, AFL-CIO, at 202-637-5075, [email protected]; or Debbie Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs, at 202-223-2532, [email protected], if you have any questions.

9to5, National Association of Working Women

AFGE National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals


African American Health Alliance

African American Ministers in Action


AIDS United

Alliance for a Just Society

Alliance for Children and Families

Alliance for Retired Americans

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

American Association for Affirmative Action

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Family Voices

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)

American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), AFL-CIO

American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

The Arc of the U.S.

Asian American Justice Center, member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice

Asian Law Alliance

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)

Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)

Black Leadership Forum

Campaign for America’s Future

Caring Across Generations

Center for Community Change

Center for Law and Social Policy

Center for Women Policy Studies

The Children’s Defense Fund

The Children’s Leadership Council

Cities For Progress, Institute for Policy Studies

The City Project

Coalition on Human Needs

Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Community Organizations in Action

Consumer Action

Compassion & Choices

Council for Opportunity in Education

Courage Campaign

Democrats for Education Reform


Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO

Developing Communities Project

Direct Care Alliance

Disability Policy Consortium

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

Early Childhood Policy Research

Education Reform Now

The Education Trust

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

The Equal Justice Society

Every Child Matters Education Fund

Family Values @ Work

Farmworker Justice

First Five Years Fund


Green for All

Half in Ten

Health Care for America Now

Healthy Teen Network

Heartland Alliance

Hmong National Development, Inc.

Institute of Social Medicine & Community Health

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers, AFL-CIO

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW

Japanese American Citizens League

Jewish Labor Committee

Labor Project for Working Families

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Legal Aid Society –Employment Law Center

Legal Momentum

Main Street Alliance

Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association

Medicare Rights Center



National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National American Indian Housing Council

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

National Association of Letter Carriers

National Association of Social Workers

National Black Child Development Institute

National Black Justice Coalition

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

National Congress of American Indians

National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO)

The National Council on Independent Living

National Disability Rights Network

National Domestic Workers Alliance

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Federation of Federal Employees

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

National Health Law Program

National Indian Child Welfare Association

National Indian Health Board

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Organization for Women

National Partnership for Women & Families

National People’s Action

National Transitional Jobs Network

National Women’s Law Center

National Women’s Health Network

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

OMB Watch

Partnership for Working Families

People For the American Way


Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Pride at Work, AFL-CIO

Public Advocates Inc.

Public Education Network

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Rebuild the Dream

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team

SMART – Sheet Metal Air Rail & Transportation Association

Social Security Works

Strengthen Social Security Coalition

Strong Families Initiative

Tradeswomen Now and Tomorrow

Transportation Learning Center

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Methodist Women

United Neighborhood Centers of America

United Steelworkers International Union


Voices for America’s Children

Wider Opportunities for Women

Working America

Young Elected Officials Network

Young People For