A lump of coal was delivered to the office door of Speaker of the House John Boehner by a group that compared his actions to a child.
A small group of protesters — a representative from ProgressOhio, a representative from Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, and three unionized federal employees — drove from Columbus to West Chester Twp. today to deliver their message and the lump of coal. Just before 11:30 a.m., during office hours, the door to Boehner’s West Chester Twp. office on Cincinnati-Dayton Road was locked and no one answered as protesters knocked.
“Like many children, Boehner has cleaned up his act days before Christmas,” said Denise Gastesi, a spokeswoman for ProgressOhio. “We are pleased that a bipartisan budget seems to be on the horizon that doesn’t touch Social Security or Medicare. However, we are disappointed that corporate tax loopholes remain in place.”
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., unveiled this week a budget deal that will first be considered by the House of Representatives at 5 p.m. on Thursday. They were charged to negotiate an agreement following the partial government shutdown, which the majoity of Americans say House Republicans and Boehner were to blame, according to multiple public opinion polls.
“We wish the speaker would have put his foot down earlier,” said Bentley Davis, of Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans. While pleased Social Security and Medicare weren’t affected, she said her group wished the budget proposal would have included the unemployment extension.
Gastesi said while the agreement “is a step in the right direction,” a “far better deal” was needed and an opportunity was missed.
According to Policy Matters Ohio, a nonpartisan policy research organization, that more than 36,000 Ohioans will see their unemployment benefits cut off just before the new year if Congress does not approve an extension. A Council of Economic Advisers and Department of Labor report indicated that an estimated 128,600 Ohioans would be affected by the end of 2014 if unemployment benefit support is not continued.
George Dunson, a Columbus-area member of AFGE Local 1148 employee at the Defense Construction Supply Center, said an increase in pension payments equates to “another pay cut.”
“For the last three years we haven’t gotten a COLA (cost of living adjustment), we have (collectively) paid over $20 billion in (the pension program) already and what they’re doing is they’re going to double what we have to pay,” he said. “We feel that big business, the 1 percenters, Wall Street all paid their part we wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”