The ads will run on television, radio and online, and the campaign will include phone calls and direct mailers. Emphasizing African-American and Latino media markets, the ads are slated to run in Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Virginia, where the unemployment rate is much higher for those communities, Henry said.
Henry said President Obama has made it clear that he wants to help the ailing economy, but he will the need the help of Congress in order to do so.
“I think the president has taken steps throughout the past two years to make clear his commitment to rebuilding the American middle class, but our analysis is that he is one man,” Henry said. “He didn't say ‘Yes, he can.’ He said ‘Yes, we can.’ ”
As the White House and Congress struggled to raise the debt ceiling this summer, the debate in Washington primarily focused on how much to reduce government spending, rather than funding more stimulus efforts to jolt the struggling economy. Henry said she hoped her union's and other’s efforts will help reframe the debate so that jobs become the top priority again for lawmakers.
“The second stage of this debate should be about taking those revenues and investing in our people in the short-term and reducing our deficit in the long-term,” Henry said. “Take those revenues and invest in jobs, not in reducing the deficit.”
Under the debt-ceiling deal reached earlier this month, a new supercommittee of lawmakers will start work on cutting the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion when Congress returns this fall. If they cannot come to an agreement that the Congress then passes and the president signs, that will trigger deep cuts to several government programs, particularly affecting those in the defense and healthcare industries.
Henry, whose union is filled with healthcare worker members, said those cuts to healthcare should not happen.
“It enrages me. … That is the not kind of country we should be,” Henry said. “This is just the wrong way to take a meat ax to the programs that provide healthcare to elders, seniors and the disabled in this country. It’s morally wrong and we are going to do everything we can to object to it.”