VIDEO: Courage for America Bus Tour Demands Speaker McCarthy “Back Off Our Benefits”

Advocates Ramp Up Pressure on MAGA Republicans Ahead of McCarthy’s 100th Day
Additional Photos Available Here.
(All images free for use with credit to Courage for America)

BAKERSFIELD, CA — Today, as part of its nationwide “Back Off Our Benefits” bus tour, Courage for America joined Officer Michael Fanone, Laura Packard, advocates from the California Alliance for Retired Americans, and constituents from CA-20 to call on Speaker McCarthy to promise his constituents that he will not cut life-saving programs that Americans rely on — including Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits.


Laura Packard, Health Care Voter executive director and Courage for America spokesperson, kicks off “Back Off Our Benefits” bus tour in Bakersfield. [credit: Courage for America]


(All images free for use with credit to Courage for America)


Courage for America and Speaker McCarthy’s own constituents blasted MAGA lawmakers for playing political games and pushing the country towards a default crisis at the expense of American seniors, veterans, and children. Speaker McCarthy was invited to speak directly with his constituents but he refused to attend the event.

Officer Michael Fanone shakes hands with event attendee. [credit: Courage for America]


Here’s what speakers had to say about MAGA lawmakers’ extreme agenda:

Michael Fanone, former Metropolitan Police Department Officer injured in the January 6 insurrection and Courage for America council member:

  • “Thank you to everyone who joined Courage for America here in Bakersfield today to send a message to Speaker McCarthy that Americans across this country, including his own constituents, are fed up with the extreme and ultimately dangerous agenda that he and his fellow Republicans are pushing in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
  • “I speak for many Americans – particularly for seniors, veterans, and families with children like me – when I say that by cutting these crucial, critical benefits that we’ve earned throughout our lives, leaders like Kevin McCarthy would put us in an impossible position.”

Laura Packard, Courage for America spokesperson and executive director of Health Care Voter:

  • “I’m here with Courage for America to kick off a 20-day long bus tour asking extreme members of the House majority — including Speaker McCarthy here in Bakersfield — to sign a promise to protect the essential benefits Americans rely on and stop playing dangerous political games with the default crisis.”
  • “I’m a cancer survivor and the Affordable Care Act saved my life. Six years ago, I walked into a doctors office with a nagging cough and walked out with a stage four cancer diagnosis. Thankfully, I had good insurance through the Affordable Care Act… I’m just one example of the millions of Americans that have been under attack due to their [MAGA lawmakers’] extremism. And so we’re here to call on all of the Republican House-majority members, starting with Speaker McCarthy, to back off our benefits and stop playing politics with our lives.”

Jesse Aguilar, California Teachers Association board member, local advocate, retired teacher, and union activist:

  • “I’m joining Courage for America at this event to ask Speaker McCarthy to make a simple promise: protect our hard-earned benefits and stop playing politics with our lives.”
  • “House Republicans are risking a major global economic crisis and putting American lives at risk by forcing default unless their extreme demands are met…Speaker McCarthy has catered to the most extreme elements of his party and has forgotten about the issues that affect the rest of us every day.”

To learn more about the bus tour or speak with a Courage for America spokesperson, please email [email protected]. Additional information can be found in our press kit, including photos and videos from each event that will be added throughout the tour.