CES Puts a Face to the Most Impacted Victims if the Debt Ceiling is Not Raised at U.S. Conference of Mayors News Conference
As the weeks turn into days, and the days turn into hours, the clock continues to count down on what could be world wide economic Armageddon.
With the deadline for reaching an agreement to raise the debt ceiling fast-approaching, fifty of the nation’s mayors, led by US Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, met in Los Angeles on July 22, to urge Congress and the Administration to reach an agreement on the debt limit to prevent default.
A news conference was held where the Mayor Villaraigosa and the other voiced this message and the need to focus on creating new jobs to Congress.
Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) members Demitra Briscoe and James ‘Doc’ Bethard also spoke at the news conference. As recipients of Social Security, SSI and Veterans benefits they expressed deep concern that if the debt limit was not raised and they didn’t received their benefit checks they would not be able to pay the rent and would face eviction.
They called on Congress to raise the debt limit, without any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and any other vital safety net program.
James Bethard is 62 years old and lives in Section 8 housing in Downtown Los
Angeles. He was a mechanical engineer by training and a Vietnam War veteran. Bethard suffers from debilitating cancer. His illness was caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. He can no longer work and is also losing his vision. He lives in HUD subsidized housing and his existence is dependent on receiving his monthly SSI check.
Demetra has been a Registered Nurse her entire adult life until 2005 when she was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. She was deemed disabled and in 2007 she qualified for Medicare and Social Security Disability. She lives in a Hollywood rent controlled apartment.
She says, “It’s very hard to make ends meet right now, and if I were to miss a payment on my rent, I would literally be on the street.”
Ms Briscoe called on the City of Los Angeles to enact an emergency temporary eviction moratorium for federal recipients who depend on their checks to pay their rents, if the debt limit is not raised
And yet it appears the House Republicans don’t care about people like James and Demitra, or anyone else, except the billionaires and corporations that control them. For it appears they are willing to destroy this country and have us plunge into an economic abyss.
Ironic as it may seem, a July 23 Huffington Post article reports, “Social Security and Medicare may have been saved by the Tea Party’s refusal to accept President Barack Obama’s “grand bargain.” Clearly, an additional aspect of this crisis that is bringing increased anxiety and fear to those who have the least ability to survive the pending economic calamity.