Seniors and healthcare workers hope to convince congress to think of them when negotiating

Group hopes Congress, President will work together

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - On Monday night, a group of seniors, nurses and health care workers protested in front of Congressman Kevin McCarthy's office hoping to make an impact on fiscal cliff talks between Congress and the President.

Vigils were held across California urging Congress members to say 'no' to cuts for certain social programs during negotiation talks.

"Everybody is making phone calls to their own congressman," said Bernice Bonillas, a member of the California Alliance of Retired Americans. "Everyday (we) just keep harping on it. We mean what we say. We need them to support us."

Organizers of this vigil said there are two things they are trying to accomplish.

The first is to encourage members of congress to let tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% expire.

"The top 2% are not paying their fair share," said Donny Williams, the president of the Central Labor Council of Kern, Inyo and Mono Counties. "Wall street isn't being taxed. They've been bailed out. The banks have been bailed out, and the top 2% have been bailed out for the longest."

The second goal is to make sure money for things like Medicare and social security is not touched during negotiation talks.

"For many, many people, all they have is a social security check," said Bonillas. "I don't want them to voucher-ize or do complicated things to it. It's working fine the way it is."

The vigil was one of 15 across California.

Protesters said they hope elected officials heard them thousands of miles away.

When it comes to raising taxes as part of the deal, several republicans have indicated that is a concession they're willing to make.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said his offer to the White House last week is still the GOP's position.

That plan did not include tax increases on the top 2%
of taxpayers.

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