NEWSROOM 2013: Media Statements and Releases
Community and Labor Activists Decry Looming Sequester Cuts and Implications for New York
Groups Call on New York’s Senators and Representatives
to Fight for Everyday New Yorkers over Corporations and Special Interests
(New York, NY) – Representatives of over 45 various New York City community groups and labor unions gathered outside the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to call on them and their colleagues in the New York House Delegation to assert leadership in Congress to stop across-the-board spending cuts in federal government programs and services, known as the “sequester”, before the end of this month. The groups staged a press conference and rally featuring leaders from key constituencies affected by the cuts, and proposed alternatives to alleviate the whole situation.
“At the beginning of this year, both our Senators and all our Representatives from New York City did the right thing to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” crisis by voting to restore fairness for individual taxpayers and asking the wealthy to pay their fair share,” said Mark Hannay, Director of the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign. “We’re here today as the sequester deadline approaches to ask them to continue with such an approach. We are asking them to avoid devastating budget cuts, and instead restore tax fairness even further by closing corporate tax loopholes and ending sweetheart deals for special interests like Big Oil and Big Pharma.”
Should the sequester begin March 1st, New York will experience the following impacts this year, (among others):
- 1,275 Head Start jobs lost, and 6,119 fewer children served
- 1,563 persons living with HIV will not receive life-saving drugs through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program
- 10,954 victims of domestic violence will not be served, and 15,374 calls to local crisis hotlines will go unanswered.
- 10,891 fewer teachers serving 140,276 students will receive professional training and development through federal “Improving Teacher Quality Grants” to states
- Over 70,000 New Yorkers will lose their jobs
- (Source: U.S. Senator Tom Harkin)
“"Americans want our leaders to invest in jobs, and to protect critical services and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security,” said Vinny Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council. “Sequestration is not the answer; it will only undermine those goals. It's time for Congress to stand up for working families and cancel across the board cuts by closing tax loopholes for Wall St. and the top 2%."
“As the President said, we need a balanced approach to addressing our fiscal challenges, not proposals that force seniors, the sickest people, and working families to make sacrifices while the super-rich and corporations keep cashing in on specialized loopholes and lavish tax breaks that ordinary folks can’t get,” said Jesse Laymon, the Campaigns Manager for Citizen Action of New York. "Congress created the sequester; Congress can cancel it. There's no need for these harsh cuts to be leveled."
“The U.S. tax system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and well-connected, who do not pay their fair share. Meanwhile, working families face the burden of across-the-board cuts in federal spending unless Congress takes action to stop them,” said Barbara Edmonds, Field Director for District Council 37, AFSCME. “Organized labor stands solidly for maintaining Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital safety net programs. The tax money is there to fund these vital programs, provided Congress acts to see that tax loopholes are closed and the wealthy pay their fair share.”
"Both retirees and workers must remain vigilant against long standing threats to seniors’ health care and economic security,” said Dennis Tracey, President of the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. “Our economic problems are not caused by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits."
"The Great Recession, not the so-called budget deficit, remains the biggest problem facing America. The lines at food pantries and food stamp offices are overflowing because of the weak economy and high rate of unemployment and underemployment," said Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS. “We need to strengthen, not cut food stamps, to deal with the growing problem of hunger. We should also invest in a WPA-style jobs program to provide a public job at a living wage to all those who need it until the private sector is able to do so. And the best way to fund all this is fair taxes, closing corporate tax loopholes, and cutting wasteful Pentagon spending.”
"To preserve vital social services and government functions, we must also end our militarized foreign policy,” said Michael Zweig, chair of the New York Chapter of U.S. Labor Against War. “We must execute deep cuts in our over-sized military spending, and raise new revenues from big corporations and the wealthy instead.”
Sponsors of the press conference and rally included: Brooklyn for Peace, Citizen Action/NYC Chapter, Goddard-Riverside Community Center, Hunger Action Network of NYS, Metro NY Health Care for All Campaign, MoveOn, NYS Alliance for Retired Americans, NY Statewide Senior Action Council, Physicians for a National Health Program/NY Metro Chapter, Rekindling Reform, Three Parks Independent Democrats, and US Labor Against the War/NYC Chapter.
“No Bad Grand Bargain” is a joint effort of nearly 50 organizations and unions in New York City that focuses on the current federal budget showdown that has been taking place in Congress since the last fall’s elections. It is affiliated with the statewide “Restore the American Promise” campaign, formed in the Summer of 2011 to engage the New York congressional delegation on issues of budget, tax, and economic policy. Its goals are to restore tax fairness, protect vital social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP, and promote economic growth and job creation as opposed to a “politics of austerity.” More info at www.rekindlingreform.org