Iowans Rally to Push Congress to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Iowans, like everyone else, continue to watch the Fiscal Cliff standoff in Congress. Without a compromise, or a deal, tax rates for everyone go up January 1. And there’s drastic and automatic spending cuts that kick in as well in the new year.

But on a day before the deadline, some politically involved Iowans tried to put pressure on Congress to compromise on the Fiscal Cliff before it’s too late.

Iowans may be a thousand miles or more from where the real political battle is taking place in Washington, D.C., but Progress Iowa, a politically-involved organization, put together rallies in four Iowa cities Sunday afternoon to call attention to the looming deadline.

Organizers called it a “Fiscal Cliff Eve” rally and a handful of activists met outside the Cedar Rapids office of Sen. Chuck Grassley. At the same time, other activities held similar rallies outside Grassley’s offices in Des Moines, Waterloo and Sioux City.

"We’d really like Americans to go home and contact Congress, send e-mails, tweet or whatever and tell their story of how this (Fiscal Cliff) will impact their families,” Blair Lawton, a Progress Iowa volunteer, said.

The group is urging Iowa lawmakers to support the end of tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent while not hurting the middle class with new taxes or spending cuts.

“It’s ridiculous we can’t compromise on anything because they have agendas and won’t compromise,” Melinda Tomsic, another participant, said

“Why can’t we figure it out? Why can’t we come together. These are intelligent people on both sides. From my perspective, they’re a little more intelligent on one side than the other when it comes to what the reality is. And I think Grover Norquist’s no tax pledge took on a life of its own and it’s done serious damage to the country,” Peggy Whitworth added.

Those involved in the Sunday afternoon rally in Cedar Rapids said the recent election should have settled the “fair share” question about letting tax cuts expire for the upper two percent. And they believe the majority of Iowans simply want Congress to get something done before the deadline.

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