Locals tell Congress to avoid fiscal cliff

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Area residents who campaigned for President Obama's re-election have regrouped to motivate senators and congressmen to avoid the fiscal cliff and "End the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy," they said last weekend.

Advocating "Fairness and progress from Congress," nearly a dozen people gathered Saturday morning at Shoney's restaurant on North Ellington Parkway to coordinate phone calls and a letter-writing campaign to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

"Our focus has been the fiscal cliff," Lewisburg resident Meechie Biggers said, explaining that if Congress fails to act before Bush Administration tax cuts expire on Dec. 31, then every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, Biggers was "selected as one of a handful of leaders" from Tennessee to go to the White House today "to attend a working meeting on the fiscal cliff," according to Victoria McCullough, assistant to the director of public engagement working in the West Wing of the White House, and the daughter of Tammy and John McCullough of Lewisburg.

Biggers, Rebekah Majors-Manley of Shelbyville and Colleen Janus of Murfreesboro were to carpool to Washington, D.C. "to hear the latest from White House officials and collaborate with fellow leaders on how we can tackle the fiscal cliff together," McCullough wrote to the three area residents.

"A typical middle-class family of four would see taxes rise by $2,200," according to a statement prepared for Biggers, who introduced small business owner Linda Lewis and Army veteran Billy Hill. Hill recently retired as Marshall County's veteran service officer.

"If TriCare is cut, it's going to hurt a lot of veterans," Hill said. TriCare is a health insurance program for military personnel and their spouses.

Lewis wants "to make sure that the taxes for 89 percent of Americans do not go up," she said, explaining her payment of $2,200 more in taxes is just part of it.

"I'm a caterer," the small business owner said. "If you are a bride or groom and have that $2,000 to hire me, I will hire someone to help me put on the event. If they don't have that money, they can't hire me."

Biggers and her friends were volunteers with Organizing For America to get the President re-elected. Now that he is, they've regrouped as The Action, volunteers to persuade federal lawmakers to pass legislation before taxes go up Jan. 1.

"The Action is a grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2 percent - those making more than $250,000 per year," according to the website TheAction.org. "The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain job."

Biggers said, "We are the Action crew, the ones to make it work to get it done by those who have to do it."