Earlier today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she would support President Obama's proposed Social Security benefit cuts -- even arguing that using the "chained CPI" would not be a benefit cut after previously telling President Obama "that House Democrats will not vote for any trims to future benefits in Medicare or Social Security, even a tweak to the cost-of-living index," according to her hometown paper.
A defiant Congressional Progressive Caucus — which has 75 Members in the House — pushed back, releasing a statement declaring:
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are standing up against a proposal to cut Social Security benefits by changing the way we calculate inflation...Tying Social Security to chained CPI is a benefit cut and members of the CPC will not vote for a deal that cuts the benefits that millions of Americans rely on.
This Progressive Caucus statement follows similarly bold statements from individual Caucus members in the preceding 36 hours. Some are below (emphasis added):
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), CPC co-chair:
"Chained CPI makes life harder for millions of retirees, weakens Social Security and doesn’t reduce the deficit by a penny. It’s a Beltway fig leaf that I will never support, and I call on my colleagues to make their feelings known as soon as possible before this becomes yet another piece of conventional wisdom that makes things worse."
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI):
"I will vote against any agreement that imposes cuts to already modest Social Security benefits and does not ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share."
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA):
"Reducing cost of living adjustments is a Social Security benefit cut. Any deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits is unacceptable and I will oppose it."
There has been intense unity among progressive organizations on this point of opposing a deal that cuts Social Security benefits. The AFL-CIO said Congress should "reject any cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare benefits." It also said that it viewed "chained CPI as a cut in Social Security benefits. We strongly oppose chained CPI." MoveOn said its "members would expect every Senate and House Democrat to do everything in their power to block" a deal that cuts benefits, Credo Action called the proposed cuts a "betrayal", and PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor declared, “Any Democrat who votes for cuts to Social Security benefits, including cutting cost of living adjustments, is inviting a primary.”
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