A new sense of urgency to reach a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff is being felt as far west as San Diego. NBC 7's Danya Bacchus spoke with protestors who demonstrated in downtown San Diego Monday night.
Just days away from a year-end deadline, the nation’s leaders are negotiating a way to avoid a "fiscal cliff."
Meanwhile, voters are anxiously watching the outcome of the negotiations and many say they’re concerned.
In San Diego, one group of protestors stood on a downtown street corner with lighted signs Monday night calling on legislators to oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
“We take all the burden,” said Lucinda Conde, a working mother of two. “I think we deserve better.”
On Monday, Republicans pressed President Barack Obama to volunteer spending cuts he will support while the White House insisted the GOP endorse higher tax rates on upper incomes.
In San Diego County, events took place at every local Congressional member’s office Monday as a way to call on legislators to protect Social Security and Medicare according to Lorena Gonzalez Secretary-Treasurer and CEO of the San Diego Labor Council.
“There's so many people obviously throughout the country that this would touch and we need to ensure that all of us, as Americans, we're standing up for that,” said Gonzales.
An agreement needs to be reached by Friday , Dec. 21, if Washington D.C. leaders want to be home for Christmas.
“We are concerned and this is part of a nationwide effort. There are actions going on all over the country to try and get some pressure on these election officials to get this settled once and for all,” said Carlos Pelayo, president of the local chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
“This is ridiculous. You can’t keep living like this day to day,” Pelayo said.
Obama's plan would raise $1.6 trillion in revenue over 10 years, in part by raising tax rates on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. He has recommended $400 billion in spending cuts over a decade.
He also is seeking extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut due to expire on Jan. 1, a continuation in long-term unemployment benefits and steps to help hard-pressed homeowners and doctors who treat Medicare patients.
House Speaker John Boehner, who has said he prefers to raise revenue by closing loopholes instead of raising taxes, has expressed frustration with the talks to date.
Boehner's plan, in addition to calling for $800 billion in new revenue, envisions $600 billion in savings over a decade from Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs as well as $300 billion from other benefit programs and another $300 billion from other domestic programs.
It would trim annual increases in Social Security payments to beneficiaries, and it calls for gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67, beginning in a decade.
On Monday, the White House did not dispute that the president was prepared to modestly scale back his initial demand for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over a decade, twice as much as Boehner has offered.
Lawmakers have previously voted to extend the tax cuts – income tax relief originally passed when George W. Bush was president, and an easing of payroll taxes.
The spending cuts -- $27 billion from defense and non-defense budgets, and another $12 billion from Medicare – were part of lawmakers’ 2011 deal to end a showdown over the nation’s debt ceiling.