Earlier this week, President Obama offered a fiscal deal that enacts a so-called “Chained CPI” to calculate Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Under this plan, beneficiaries would get cuts in their cost of living adjustments.
There has been an intense backlash among congressional Democrats, but two members of the Senate Democratic caucus — Joe Lieberman (CT) and Kent Conrad (ND) — have indicated that they would be supportive of this cut to Social Security benefits.
The two share one common trait — they’re both retiring. They do not have to face accountability to voters, and they both will have the option of taking lucrative lobbying jobs which will pad their retirements. Earlier this year, Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) office specifically refused to disclose any job negotiations he’s having for his post-Senate career.
As The Atlantic’s Molly Ball argues, Conrad and Lieberman’s retirements clear the path for a new class of Democratic Senators who are more progressive: “North Dakota’s old Democratic senator was the moderate Kent Conrad; its new Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, campaigned on a platform of ending tax cuts for millionaires and protecting Social Security from cuts.” As she notes, “Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson is out; Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, is in.”
Our polling in key swing states and President Obama’s home state of Illinois showed that voters overwhelmingly opposed cuts to Social Security benefits, and that they support Elizabeth Warren’s “balanced approach” of cutting military spending and corporate welfare while making the rich pay their fair. Voters gave these new Members of Congress a progressive mandate.
One would only hope that Lieberman and Conrad do not want their final legacy in the Senate to be one of helping hurt America’s retirees and veterans.
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