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Friday, December 14, 2012 - 12:56pm

Kingston Optimistic On Fiscal Cliff

Updated: 2 years ago.
About a dozen workers called off the protest when Kingston agreed to meet with them. The Congressman called the meeting friendly but said many programs including Social Security wouldn't be hit if a deal isn't reached. Kingston was optimistic there would be a deal. (photo US House of Representatives)

US Congressman Jack Kingston spoke with about a dozen union organizers Friday as talks over the so-called "fiscal cliff" continue.

Workers planned a rally to tell the Savannah Republican not to touch Medicare benefits.

The workers organized by the AFLCIO called off their protest when the Congressman agreed to meet with them.

Eddie White says he works for the Air Force and can't afford more cuts.

"I'm a federal employee and we've been without pay raise for the last two years, rumoured to be three years," White says. "And with that we are giving all we have trying to balance the budget on our backs."

The union's Brett Hulme says "no deal" will hurt exports.

"If they can't reach an agreement, our competitive advantage in the global economic is going to affect the deepening of that harbor and ultimately affect even more jobs here in Savannah,"

Kingston says the meeting was amicable but that Medicare isn't at risk in the potential sequestration, the series of spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect in January if no deal is reached.

"Those are off the table. There's not a discussion going on that includes Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security," Kingston says. "However in the bigger context, we have a debt that is 100% of our GDP right now. America's financial house needs to be put in order."

Kingston says he's optimistic the White House and Republicans will ink a deal.

But there were few signs of progress after Speaker John Boehner met with President Barack Obama this week.

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