MINNEAPOLIS -- The Congressional Progressive Caucus launched a tour Saturday to push for job creation, an attempt to combat the House Republican message of "cut and grow."
"We're six months in and nothing," said Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), referring to Republican's record on job growth since taking control of the House. "The heat's on them. And hopefully by putting heat on them, we will create some room in which the president can act more assertively."
Lawmakers will visit at least 12 cities on the "Speak Out For Good Jobs Now" tour, talking to men and women who are unemployed or underemployed about how to get the economy back on track. The tour is sponsored by ProgressiveCongress.org.
The goal is to push back on Republicans, who are demanding major spending cuts this summer in exchange for a vote to raise the debt ceiling, which Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said must be done by Aug. 2 to avoid a U.S. default.
Republicans have said the debt ceiling deal should include cuts to popular entitlement programs for the disabled and elderly.
"When you get down to it, and you talk about American values, Medicare and Social Security are a critical part of that," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) told HuffPost. "When Republicans talk about eroding the safety net out from under people, it's a view that's very far from the American mainstream."
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, said he thinks the tour can help ordinary people send a message to Washington.
"The American people can't be denied," he said. "Our combined numbers can overcome corporate dollars, but we've got to combine. We've got to come together."