Fiscal Cliff Rallies Planned Outside Congressional Offices

The California Nurses Association is holding a candlelight vigil outside the office of Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Beverly Hills.

Activists will hold rallies outside the Los Angeles offices of three congressional Democrats Monday, demanding that negotiators discussing the fiscal cliff avoid cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or higher taxes on the middle class.

The recently formed volunteer organization Grassroots SoCal will hold what it calls an "My2K" rally at the Hancock Park office of Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, sharing stories of how their lives will be affected if the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class are not extended past their Dec. 31 expiration date, organizers said.

Failure to continue the tax cuts would mean an average $2,000 tax increase per family, according to organizers. The Senate, where Democrats hold sway, in July approved an extension of the cuts for individual taxpayers making under $200,000, heads of households making less than $225,000 and married couples making less than $250,000, but the GOP-dominated House has not taken action.

Grassroots SoCal was born out of a meeting a week ago between former volunteers for Organizing for America, a community organizing project of the Democratic National Committee, and the White House Office of Public Engagement, according to the group's Angelina Burnett.

Bass plans to discuss the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations with constituents Monday. Activists plan to hold a rally outside the downtown office of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., calling for her to protect Medicare, Medicaid and other vital services from cuts, according to Jacob Hay of Good Jobs LA, the coalition of labor, community, religious and immigrants' rights organizations that organized the rally.

The California Nurses Association plans candlelight vigils outside the offices of 10 members of California's House delegation, including the office of Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Beverly Hills, near the Beverly Center. The group opposes cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

If Congress and President Barack Obama do not reach agreement by Dec. 31, spending cuts and tax increases would go into effect, which the Congressional Budget Office has forecast would probably lead to a recession next year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee in late February that "a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases" would take place on Jan. 1 if an agreement is not reached.

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