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New Labor Ads Warn Against Entitlement Cuts

Three leading labor unions released a second round of TV ads Friday calling on viewers to urge members of Congress not to cut entitlements as part of a budget deal.

The six-figure ad buy follows a similar round of TV and radio messages that aired in late November, launched by the same trio of unions: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association.

The latest ads warn that “cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid will shortchange the people who need it the most,” and features clips an elderly woman struggling to walk with a pint-sized walker and a patient offered a doll-sized hospital gown, among other satirical images.

“We are letting folks on both sides of the aisle know that we are watching the choices they make when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare,” said Peter Colavito, director of government relations at SEIU, which, along with its allies, also opposes cuts to Social Security.

The ads target Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Republican Reps. Denny Rehberg of Montana and Pat Tiberi of Ohio.

Labor organizers are also coordinating with a broad coalition of progressive groups to stage a National Day of Action on Monday that will include gatherings at lawmakers’ district offices around the country, aiming to pressure members of Congress to leave Medicare, Medicaid and education funding untouched. They’re also urging Congress to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent of earners, a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s budget plan.

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