Stand Strong for Rhode Islanders in the Debt Ceiling Fight!

The debt ceiling negotiations have heated up to match the mercury outside and Republicans and Democrats are proposing dranconian cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare while preserving tax breaks for the super wealthy and corporate tax subsidies.

Join us to ask the RI delegation to stand their ground for Rhode Islanders by defending these principles:

  • Defending the Well Being of Our Communities – Program cuts that eliminate benefits, reduce eligibility, demand participants pay more or force state governments to make cuts are not acceptable.
  • Responsible Reductions in Defense Spending – National security is essential, but our defense spending wastes billions. We can responsibly reduce outlays for defense while maintaining a strong, secure nation.
  • Fixing the Corporate Tax System is Imperative – We cannot afford a tax code that rewards corporations for hiding money offshore and permits them to benefit from accounting gimmicks and loopholes. As good paying jobs become harder to find and corporate profits continue to skyrocket, we need to strike the right balance of corporate citizenship and economic growth.
  • Restoring Fairness to the Income Tax – While the income tax structure is progressive, it does not make up for the regressive nature of the many other forms of taxation in our nation – property taxes, the sales tax and so on. We allow far too many people to hide wealth, or claim income as something else that is taxed differently – or not at all. We must ask the wealthiest – from hedge fund managers to the inheritors of fortunes – to be good patriots and contribute more to the commonweal.
  • Responsible Social Spending Reform – The only acceptable changes to programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are those that make the programs more efficient and successful. Any changes that result in the loss of income security or access to health care are unacceptable.

Add your name to the petition today and ask our Congressional delegation to HOLD THEIR GROUND!

It is with the utmost concern that we are following the negotiations between Congress and the President over the national debt ceiling. Many of the proposals, including those from Democrats as well as from Republicans, offer devastating reductions to programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that are necessary to keep scores of millions of Americans healthy, educated, financially secure and free from desperate need.

During this difficult time, many of your constituents in Rhode Island have watched, with great pride, as you have been a voice of reason, calling on Congress to approach the issue of our nation’s long-term debt with compassion, fairness and moral principle.

We write to say thank you. On behalf of the people of Rhode Island, our working families and struggling unemployed, our cities and small towns, our schools, our health centers and our senior centers, we say “Thank you.” Thank you for understanding that harming the well-being of children, seniors, the poor and the disabled is not a solution of any kind. Thank you for taking action – through letters to the President, votes on the floor, interviews in the media, and messages to your constituents – on behalf of those for whom government programs provide support and hope during these hard times. Thank you for being the truly progressive leader that Rhode Island and America need today.

Thank you for recognizing that fundamental economic principles demonstrate that cuts during periods of high unemployment are counter-productive. Thank you for demanding that the long-term deficit be addressed not only by cuts, but also through fair, common sense revenue measures. You have articulated, cogently and forcefully, for the inclusion of these measures – including ideas like closing corporate tax loopholes, eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy, repealing the Bush-era tax cuts and asking the top brackets to chip-in as good patriots should. Thank you for being a voice that demands we ask as much of the fortunate few as we do of everyone else.

We also write to ask you to stay strong. As the negotiations continue, there will be pressure from within your party, from the press, and from powerful interests in our society to do the wrong thing. Those privileged few will call on Congress to cut programs instead of cutting corporate welfare. They will ask that you vote to devastate working families instead of asking the wealthiest to contribute a little more to the common good in return for the opportunities our nation has given them. They will ask that we base decisions on a faulty concept – that government is not an answer to our society’s ills, but rather the cause.

As representatives of communities and organizations that see, every day, how programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid change people’s lives for the better, we know this view is wrong. We believe you share our belief that as a society, we have a moral duty to ensure that everyone has a chance to live a full, productive and economically secure life. That is the American Dream.

We ask that you support a resolution to this crisis based on the following principles:

  • Defending the Well Being of Our Communities. Program cuts that eliminate benefits, reduce eligibility, demand participants pay more or force state governments to make cuts are not acceptable.
  • Responsible Reductions in Defense Spending. National security is essential, but our defense spending wastes billions. We can responsibly reduce outlays for defense while maintaining a strong, secure nation.
  • Fixing the Corporate Tax System is Imperative. We cannot afford a tax code that rewards corporations for hiding money offshore and permits them to benefit from accounting gimmicks and loopholes. As good paying jobs become harder to find and corporate profits continue to skyrocket, we need to strike the right balance of corporate citizenship and economic growth.
  • Restoring Fairness to the Income Tax. While the income tax structure is progressive, it does not make up for the regressive nature of the many other forms of taxation in our nation – property taxes, the sales tax and so on. We allow far too many people to hide wealth, or claim income as something else that is taxed differently – or not at all. We must ask the wealthiest – from hedge fund managers to the inheritors of fortunes – to be good patriots and contribute more to the commonweal.
  • Responsible Social Spending Reform. The only acceptable changes to programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are those that make the programs more efficient and successful. Any changes that result in the loss of income security or access to health care are unacceptable.

These are principles reflected in the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Peoples Budget (introduced as an amendment to Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal and voted on in the House on April 14). That document can and should serve as a guide towards a responsible resolution of our national budget challenges.We respectfully request that you join the other members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation in transmitting to the President the sense of the people of Rhode Island as embodied in the principles above. As August 2nd approaches and America faces the real possibility of not being able to meet its debt and other payments, the people of Rhode Island need to know that any resolution will not occur at the expense of the common good.

Thank you for being the champion we need in these trying times. We support your good work and stand ready to help in any way we can.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE!

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Brian Hull received his Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is Director of Community Development for the City of Providence, responsible for the management and strategic visioning of the City's community development programs, including Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, HOME, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Home Repair Loans, Down Payment Assistance, and Lead Repair Loans.

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