Incensed at reports that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) may be nearing agreement on a debt-ceiling deal that would involve cuts to federal entitlement programs but no immediate provisions to raise taxes, labor and liberal groups are urging their members to rally against such a plan.
On Friday, a coalition of national groups including MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the AFL-CIO organized an “emergency call-in day,” urging members in an e-mail to contact Democratic members of Congress and tell them to “keep their promises to reject any debt deal that slashes programs for seniors and working families while doing little or nothing to make the rich and corporations pay their share.”
Members of MoveOn.org are also planning on calling Senate and House Democrats’ campaign arms as well as Obama’s Chicago-based reelection campaign in opposition to any deal that would not include spending cuts but no immediate revenue increases.
The Service Employees International Union also sent an e-mail to 400,000 activists Friday calling on them to contact Democratic lawmakers and ask them to oppose any deal that “would make deep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security benefits without asking for an ounce of sacrifice from corporations and millionaires.”
The pushback from liberal and labor groups comes as many congressional Democrats have responded with outrage to reports of a potential $3 trillion debt-limit deal being negotiated between the White House and Boehner. Obama maintained Friday that any deal to raise the debt ceiling must include fresh tax revenue as well as spending cuts.
A CNN poll released Friday showed Obama’s approval rating at 45 percent, down from 48 percent in early June and 54 percent in late May. Part of the reason for that decline appears to be a drop in support among liberals; 13 percent of those polled said that Obama is “not liberal enough,” up from seven percent in late April.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said that while the specifics of the reported Obama-Boehner compromise are yet to be seen, such a proposal would be “morally wrong at a time when it’s crystal clear that Republicans will not put revenue on the table.”
“I think what the White House has been saying all along is that they want a balanced approach that has revenue in it,” Henry said in a brief interview Friday. “I know there’s lots of rumors about this Boehner proposal; we haven’t seen the details. We obviously support the White House approach (favoring a plan that includes both cuts and revenue increases). ... We’re going to continue to pound away on everybody we can.”