VIDEO: Courage for America Bus Tour, Local Missouri Advocates Demand Rep. Jason Smith “Back Off Our Benefits”

Advocates Ramp Up Pressure on MAGA Republicans Ahead of McCarthy’s 100th Day
Photos, Audio, and Tour Information Available in Our Press Kit
(All images free for use with credit to Courage for America)

ST. LOUIS, MO — Today, as part of its nationwide “Back Off Our Benefits” bus tour, Courage for America joined local advocates to call out Representative Jason Smith and his fellow MAGA lawmakers for pushing the country towards a default crisis at the expense of American seniors, veterans, and children.

At Kiener Plaza in St. Louis, advocates demanded that Rep. Smith promise not to cut funding for lifesaving programs that Americans rely on while the default deadline looms—including Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits.

This afternoon, the bus tour will visit Rep. Smith’s district offices in Farmington, MO and Cape Girardeau, MO to once again ask him to make this promise to his constituents and protect their hard-earned benefits.

For photos, videos, and more, visit our Press Kit and Facebook. Event photos and videos will continue to be updated as they are available.
For additional information or to speak with a spokesperson or event speaker, contact [email protected].




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

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

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

  • “We’re calling on extreme members of the Republican House majority, including Rep. Smith, to sign a promise [that] they must protect the essential benefits Americans rely on and stop playing political games with the default crisis.”
  • “House Republicans, including Rep. Smith, are risking a major global economic crisis and a major personal crises for millions of Americans across the country who depend on these benefits. We’re here to ask Rep. Smith a final time to promise his constituents that he’ll back off our hard-earned benefits.”

Moises Montalvo, an army veteran and Common Defense member:

  • “Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and veterans benefits are not just programs—they’re the very embodiment of our nation’s commitment to caring for its people. They represent the values that I fought for and that we fight for as soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors: compassion, solidarity, and a genuine concern for the wellbeing of other citizens.”

Jessica Motsinger, a U.S. Navy veteran and Common Defense member:

  • “Social Security Disability Insurance was and continues to be here not only for myself, but for over 26,000 constituents from MO-08—citizens that are part of Rep. Jason Smith’s district. […] In MO-08, their veteran population makes up over 13 percent of the entire state veteran population and yet, Rep. Smith is looking to cut their veterans’ benefits.”
  • “We’re asking Rep. McCarthy and Rep. Smith to honor their oath.”

Marla Chassels, a local activist and organizer:

  • “Why is anyone ever denied the basic human right of quality medical care? The scariest question of all: Why are certain members of Congress trying to take away the benefits that we do have? We have to protect and expand our benefits.”

Stephanie Taylor, founder of CDSS-ESL:

  • “It is simply troubling that leaders will consider cuts to Medicare and food stamp benefits and underrepresented communities’ access to health care.”
  • “I’m talking to you leaders because education and health care are two of the most important factors in determining one’s future economic success. […] Cuts to Medicare and food stamp benefits would make it more difficult for children in these communities to access the resources they need to succeed.”
  • “It is quite tragic that our leaders continue to put politics over people, showing their disdain for the people who elected them. […] These cuts would disproportionately affect those who are already facing significant challenges and would only serve to widen the gap between those who have access to basic necessities and those who do not.”