Senators and Groups Demand No Social Security Cuts in Deficit-Reduction Deal
(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and a coalition of advocacy and labor groups representing millions of Americans discussed their plans to oppose any cuts to Social Security benefits as part of a deficit-reduction deal today.
They also released a video of President Obama’s past strong statements of support against Social Security cuts, a position they hope he maintains during these deficit negotiations.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – “Social Security is perhaps the most successful program in the history of our country. It has not contributed one penny to our deficit or our national debt. The idea of lumping cuts in Social Security into a discussion about our deficit and our national debt is absolutely wrong and unfair to the tens of millions of seniors and people with disabilities who benefit from that program. When President Obama ran for president in 2008, he was a strong advocate of Social Security. He made it very clear to the American people he was not going to cut benefits. The American people expect the president of the United States to keep his word.”
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) – “It’s pretty clear that, particularly now in this time of economic distress, attacks on Social Security and Medicare are really wrong for the country.”
Eric Kingson, Co-Chair, Strengthen Social Security Campaign – “We are here today because we are shocked that Social Security cuts are again being discussed in the context of deficit reduction negotiations. By law, Social Security cannot and has not contributed a penny to the federal deficit. The President has said that ‘Social Security is not the cause of our deficit.’ That is true, and that is why we believe it is important to remind our Leaders that cuts to Social Security benefits do not belong in any deficit-reduction deal.”
Charles Loveless, Director of Legislation, AFSCME – “Social Security should be completely off the table, including measures under consideration to cut the Social Security payroll tax. Reducing payroll contributions amounts to a raid on the Social Security trust fund and puts it in jeopardy.”
Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women – “Millions of women in this country rely on Social Security and cutting their benefits will cause many of them to fall into poverty. The budget must not be balanced on the backs of vulnerable women and seniors, instead corporations and multimillionaires must be required to pay their fax share in taxes.”
Max Richtman, NCPSSM Executive VP/Action CEO – “While some in Washington may believe they’ve found a way to cut benefits that Americans just won’t notice or understand…they’re in for a surprise. Our National Committee members fully understand that the chained CPI is nothing more than a backdoor benefit cut. Having already weathered two years of no COLAs, it’s an awfully hard sell if Washington thinks seniors will believe that ‘nothing’ is too much.”
Rich Fiesta, Director of Government and Political Affairs, Alliance for Retired Americans – “Today’s seniors want to lower the budget deficit. They do not want a large debt to be the legacy they leave behind to their children and grandchildren. But the fact is that Social Security has not added one penny to our deficit and has no place in any debt ceiling negotiations.”
Sarah Lane, Communications Director, MoveOn.org – “MoveOn members, who worked tirelessly to elect the President, could not be more clear: Cutting social security benefits and putting the well being of seniors and future retirees at risk is absolutely unacceptable. The President must take Social Security cuts off the table, and stand up to the Republicans who are holding the nation’s economy hostage just so they can protect tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.”
Clips and Audio from the Call and the threat to cutting Social Security benefits:
Link to audio (starts at about 7 minutes in)
Washington Post—Democrats incensed with White House over Social Security, Medicare: The call included speakers representing more than 300 liberal organizations, including national labor unions, the National Organization for Women, MoveOn.org and the Alliance for Retired Americans. “There’s been very little conversation between the White House and the Senate about this, and I think they’re making a grievous mistake if they think they can just present anything to us and assume that because we’re Democrats, we’ll go along with what the president has capitulated to,” Whitehouse said.
The Hill—Liberal senators warn Obama over Social Security cuts in any debt deal: Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) warned Friday that President Obama faces turmoil in the Senate and in his reelection campaign if he includes Social Security cuts in any debt-ceiling deal. The senators said the White House has not communicated effectively to Senate Democrats and they and their rank-and-file colleagues are being frozen out of the process.
The Huffington Post—A President On the Verge of a Political Breakdown: “If something bad happens to Social Security, you own it, Mr. President.”
The Washington Times—Restive Democrats warn Obama on deficit talks: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode island Democrat, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent and one of the Senate’s most liberal members, held a conference call with representatives of more than 300 liberal groups, including MoveOn.org, the National Organization for Women and labor unions opposed to any cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security.
Politico—Left fires back over entitlements
Think Progress—Bernie Sanders: Senators Have Told Me If Obama Sends A "Piece of Crap' Debt Deal To Us, We'll Defeat It
Firedoglake—Whitehouse, Sanders: "Disconnect Between Administration and the Senate
People's World (WA Blog)—Movement to stop Social Security cuts mushrooms
Vt.Digger.og (VT)—Sanders: Hands Off Social Security
The Strengthen Social Security Campaign is comprised of more than 300 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations.