Congressman Bill Johnson challenged on campaign promises - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Congressman Bill Johnson challenged on campaign promises

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SALEM, Ohio - Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill on Monday facing a December 31st deadline to avoid the so called fiscal cliff.

Without a compromise by then, automatic tax increases and spending cuts could affect every American.

Republicans have been unwilling to raise taxes and Democrats have been refusing to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Members of the Ohio and Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative made an in person visit to the Salem office of 6th District Congressman Bill Johnson. They say Johnson needs to remember his campaign promises and not settle for any bargains.

"We're here to encourage him to stick to his word and not do any cuts to our Social Security and Medicare," said Collaborative spokesperson Charlene Allen.

The group feels Johnson, more than many other lawmakers, should be sensitive to this issue

"Some 60 percent of his district are on Social Security and Medicare," Allen said.

Sixty-five-year old Jerry Means says he has a heart condition and is unable to work. "The only income I have is Social Security, and if they cut it I'm going to be in big trouble," Means said.

Contacted in Washington, Johnson said he also promised his 80-year old mother that we would protect her Social Security.

"I intend to stay firm on those commitments. I believe we've got a way that we can reform those programs, save them from becoming insolvent and protect them for current seniors and make sure that those safety net programs are there for future generations as well," Johnson said.

Some lawmakers are saying they may have a compromise deal before Christmas. Johnson was asked if he shares that confidence.

"It sounds like things are moving in a positive direction. We'll know more as we get into our session this week," Johnson said.

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