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West Tennesseans Preparing to Protest Lack of Fiscal Cliff Action

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - One group of West Tennesseans said they are preparing to protest in downtown Jackson to support the Obama administration's request to put pressure Republicans.

"He asked us to be behind him, the same message that got him elected. He needs supporters," said resident Alma Jones.

The fiscal cliff deadline is January 1. With negotiations taking a turn for the worse, the President asked for public support in the White House's most recent deal.

Residents said the divide on Capitol Hill is also being battled in West Tennessee. Residents are taking action, by writing hundreds of letters to congress, demanding a bill that extends tax cuts for the middle class and raises taxes on households that make more than $250,000 a year.

Residents said their activist group known as "The Action" will start protests in downtown Jackson, Monday.

"We are talking to our neighbors on Facebook, Twitter, whatever we can do," said Jones. "If we have to camp outside our representative's office we'll do that if we have to."

Many said they feel their letters supporting Obama's plan will help bring change. However, those in opposition said they feel the divide on Capitol Hill runs too deep for any of President Obama's supporters to make a difference.

"I honestly believe that the majority of politicians know what they believe and what they are going to vote for and what they are not," said resident Marty Burke. "I don't believe the taxes need to be raised on anyone regardless of their income. It wouldn't change my mind on things. Most people have their beliefs and very few things are going to be said to change their beliefs."

In Washington, Republicans rejected Obama's tax-hike proposal for the wealthiest Americans.

Officials said both sides must reach a deal before the fiscal cliff deadline, where automatic spending cuts and tax hikes will kick in.

Residents said they will fight to be heard until then.

"We need help. People of all races are facing a difficult future," said resident Diana Tharpe.

White House officials said they want $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. Officials said $1.6 trillion would come from higher taxes on the wealthier Americans.