Unions release ads attacking Republicans on sequester

Rachel Rose Hartman

Several major unions have teamed up to issue a public warning to Republican members of Congress over the sequester—across-the-board spending cuts which will go into effect March 1 if Congress fails to pass a budget measure.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA) on Thursday launched a six-figure television ad buy warning select Republican members of Congress about their legacies if the cuts are permitted to go into effect.

The commercials, tailored for each politician, single out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Reps. Gary Miller and Jeff Denham of California, Bob Gibbs of Ohio, Daniel Webster of Florida, Tom Latham of Iowa and Dan Benishek of Michigan by running ads in their districts and in Washington, D.C.

The script for McConnell reads as follows: "How will you be remembered, Sen. McConnell? For serving honorably? Or for inflicting pain on millions just to protect tax loopholes for corporations and the richest few? By refusing to budge, you and Republican leaders have guaranteed reckless, automatic cuts that will devastate our troops, first responders, students, educators, families, seniors, and could destroy a million American jobs. Is this how you want to be remembered, Sen. McConnell?"

The ad's funders say their aim is to threaten members' legacies.

"These ads will let the public know that Republican leaders are responsible for failing to stop reckless automatic cuts that will hurt families and our economy. Approximately 1 million Americans could lose their jobs because congressional leaders refuse to close corporate tax loopholes—is that the legacy that these members of Congress want?" Peter Colavito, SEIU director of government relations, said in a statement.