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Progressives target McCaskill in bid to protect Medicare, Medicaid during lame-duck session

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 8, 2012 - Progressive activists are wasting no time putting pressure on U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to protect Medicare, Medicaid and other social services when she returns to Washington for what may be a combative lame-duck session focusing on the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes – known as sequestration – that will go into effect Jan. 1 unless a deal is struck.

At noon today, the activists are holding a rally outside McCaskill’s official office at 5850 Delmar Blvd. and will present a letter to her “arguing that jobs should come before cuts.”

The group’s statement also singles out U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

“This Election Day, voters across America rejected the 'You’re On Your Own' philosophy of the Ryan budget plan that guts vital services and provides tax breaks to the wealthy,” the group said in a statement, “and instead chose to rebuild the middle class, invest in good jobs and protect critical services like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“Congress faces serious choices before the end of the year,” the statement continued. “Will it make disastrous cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, child care, special education and other public services that our communities rely on or will it take an approach that puts job creation first?”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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