About 75 people tried to enter U.S. Representative Dave Reichert's office around noon Tuesday to urge him to avoid deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Many held signs stating "Don't Destroy the American Dream" and "Stop the Blame Game."
Mercer Island Police arrived a short time later to escort the protesters out of the building and allowing them to gather on the sidewalk on 78th Avenue SE. Senior Reichert staffmember Tom Young — who said he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the congressman —listened to concerns from the crowd and said he would relay their concerns to Reichert (R), who is in Washington D.C. Young tried to answer questions about what the congressman was had said without speaking directly for him.
Protesters also delivered a petition asking Reichert to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from cuts.
The U.S. House of Representatives are currently debating a bill that would cut those programs as part of a deal to raise the debt limit ceiling for the U.S. Government above $14.3 to pay for programs and interest payments Congress had already approved in a budget earlier this year.
President Obama's call Monday night asked citizens to contact their local members of Congress about raising the debt limit.
Sammamish resident Bob McCoy, who joined in the protest, said cutting Social Security was short-sighted and going back on promises made before he was born.
"I liken it to an investment in a major corporation," said McCoy. "If I had bought stock in it, I wouldn't see Social Security and Medicare as welfare."
Reichert represents the eighth Congressional district, which includes Bellevue and Mercer Island and stretches as far as Mount Rainier, Eatonville and Redmond.
Left-leaning political advocacy group Moveon.org called for the protest, which organizers say was then joined by other friends and neighbors who heard about the protest via email. Earlier this year, supporters of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington .