(WOMENSENEWS)–As tornadoes tore up southern states this week, federal budget wrangling moved out of Washington and began spreading destructive political force through state 2012 campaigns.

The anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List group set out to punish lawmakers who supported Planned Parenthood against a defunding effort in the recent 2011 budget tussle, the Washington Post reported April 24. Its retaliatory ads will reportedly be aimed at Senate Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

On the other side of that clash, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the leading pro-choice lobby, said its supporters were stirred up against House Speaker John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican widely identified as leading what many Democrats are decrying as an "unprecedented war on women."

The Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition interest group, said in a press statement April 26 that it was holding 40 events this week in at least 18 states, many to target House Republicans who voted to cut funding for the Social Security Administration, to end Medicare and slash Medicaid. Women form the majority of beneficiaries of all three programs. Most events were staged on April 28 under a " Don’t Make Us Work ‘Til We Die " slogan.

The GOP-Democrat clash over the budget is often described as boiling down to two positions: shrinking government versus maintaining social safety nets.

‘The Daily Show’ Appearances

In an April 28 TV appearance on Jon Stewart’s " The Daily Show ", Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Democrat, put it another way. He called the budget debate a clash between billionaires who don’t want their Bush-era tax cuts raised and middle-class Americans who need Social Security and Medicare because those programs have reduced old-age poverty and sickness. In December Sanders staged an eight-hour filibuster-style show of opposition to President Obama’s proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Sanders’ state, Vermont, moved toward single-payer health–or Medicare for all– this week when state senators there passed a bill to create such a system, The American Prospect reported April 26.

A day earlier on "The Daily Show," Elizabeth Warren, a White House advisor and one-time columnist for Women’s eNews , came on Stewart’s program to talk about the problems facing the launch of a consumer agency she is putting together to regulate financial products such as mortgages and credit cards starting July 21.

She described the agency as serving middle class families and said that after surviving a big shootout with political opponents in an open vote in Congress it now faces a "back alley" fight against GOP lawmakers pushing a barrage of measure to weaken the agency before it starts its first day of work. Republicans say the bureau puts too much power in one individual and complain the bureau lacks enough oversight, CNN Money.com reported.

Dukes Back at Work

In the middle of the nation’s increasingly heated fight over taxes, spending and budgets, Betty Dukes went back to her job as a Wal-Mart greeter in Pittsburg, Calif., The Philadelphia Enquirer reported April 26. The High Court is deciding to allow Dukes’ sex-discrimination case–the largest of its kind in U.S. history–to go forward as a class action covering as many as 1.6 million workers.

Dukes said she was happy to be back at work, had always enjoyed her job and was looking forward to a resolution of the lawsuit.

On April 28, the Supreme Court put a chill on class-action expectations when it said a customer could not file such a suit against AT&T Mobile after signing a contract with the company saying she could not do so. A law professor called the ruling "one of the most important and favorable cases for businesses in a very long time," The New York Times reported April 28.

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