About 200 union leaders from 33 states are coming to Washington today to lobby lawmakers on the fiscal cliff, calling on Congress to raise taxes on the rich and preserve entitlement programs.
Local officials from the AFL-CIO, National Education Association, Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will ask members of Congress to raise tax rates on top earners and not to cut benefits to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The influential labor groups, which together have spent millions lobbying government this year, have been making the same request of legislators since soon after Election Day.
Union officials will meet with lawmakers of both parties from both chambers of Congress, but the primary target will be Senate Democrats, NEA government relations director Mary Kusler told the Alley. Why?
"As we get closer to the December deadline there will be pressure on them to compromise. We don't want them to accept a bad deal just for a deal's sake," Kusler said.
Asked how the unions will measure the success of the fly-in, Kusler said "making sure that senators know their constituents are watching [and] helping make sure a narrative is being created in states so that average invidviuals … know the stakes are high."
Last week, three labor groups launched radio and TV ads across five states, asking Democratic senators and Republican representatives to tax the wealthy and preserve entitlements.
"It’s time to protect social security benefits. It’s time to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits. And it’s time to raise taxes for the richest 2%," Trumka said.
Meanwhile the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is gearing up for its 2013 fly-in to lobby lawmakers on tax reform. Five hundred agents and advisers registered for the group's April 2013 conference in Washington, a record number a spokeswoman told the Alley.
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