A group of clergy gathered outside the office of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in Chicago Thursday calling on the senator to use his position to fight for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The group smashed a gold colored cardboard piñata in the shape of a calf, symbolizing the country’s worship of idols of wealth and greed. Clergy called on Durbin to choose between the interests of the rich or the majority of his constituents.
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The group wants Durbin to fight sequestration cuts to domestic programs and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They also are demanding that Durbin oppose extending the Bush-era tax cuts to the top 2 percent and support passage of the Financial Transaction Tax – sometimes called the Robin Hood Tax. Durbin has been a champion of social services but the Rev. Marilyn Pagan-Banks says it seems like he’s not taking a hard position. “Every conversation we’ve had with him, there’s always been this sort of timidity and we’re saying look, you’re the leader, right, and they call him the whip and all that kind of stuff and we haven’t been able to have a conversation with him where we’ve felt that he’s really going to take a hard, hard stand,” Pagan-Banks said.
The clergy in attendance claim Durbin and others are working on $4 trillion in deficit reductions that could put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the “chopping block” in addition to other programs they say are critical to creating jobs and protecting families.