Social Security Employees Protest Potential Fiscal Cliff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Jobs and benefits are on the line for thousands of Marylanders as federal lawmakers attempt to back away from the fiscal cliff.

Political reporter Pat Warren was with Social Security employees as they protested in Baltimore Wednesday.

Marylanders at home and in Washington know what’s at stake.

“Sequestration is something we have to make sure we avoid,” said Elijah Cummings.

“Over half a million Marylanders depend directly on the federal government for their job,” said Andy Harris.

“The middle class has suffered enough,” Cummings said.

“All Marylanders will be affected if we allow the fiscal cliff to happen,” said Harris.

While Maryland representatives hash it out on the Hill, taxes and cuts bring Governor Martin O’Malley and a bipartisan group of governors to Washington to offer their thoughts on the fiscal cliff, urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to avoid automatic increases and spending cuts set for the end of the year.

In Baltimore, a group of demonstrators outside the Social Security office made their feelings known, urging a resolution that does not include cuts in Social Security jobs and services.

“We’re concerned about these cuts in Social Security and we would like to see a change and we don’t want to see our public hurt in any way. We want to serve our public every day,” said retired federal employee Rita Pyle.

“You don’t take money out of people’s hands when you’re trying to promote jobs,” said John Gage, American Federation of Government Employees.

For Maryland, there’s much more than Social Security cuts at stake. Overall, Maryland has 300,000 direct jobs and another 230,000 contracting jobs supported by the federal government.

Maryland has the fourth highest number of government-related jobs in the country.

Employees at more than 100 Social Security offices nationwide participated in demonstrations Wednesday. The Social Security Administration’s headquarters is in Woodlawn.

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