By introducing a proposal to use chained CPI to cut Social Security and veterans benefits, President Obama is handing the Republican Party a rallying cry to run on in 2014. In the past 24 hours, leading Republican lawmakers, right-wing pundits, and conservative activists have latched onto the chained CPI proposal to attack Democrats:
- Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee: Walden appeared on CNN to claim Obama is "trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors and I just think it's not the right way to go." Watch it:
- Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY): Collins opposes chained CPI and says it would "pinch our seniors who, come the end of the month, the stories I hear, are having trouble putting food on the table."
- Right-wing activist Grover Norquist: Norquist blasted chained CPI as a violation of his anti-tax pledge.
- Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly:O'Reilly complained that chained CPI would harm the lives of low-income seniors like his mother.
All of this demonstrates that by agreeing to chained CPI Democrats would not only be violating the historical principles of the Democratic Party, but they would be opening themselves up to an onslaught of Republican attacks in 2014.
There are, however, a number of Democrats who are not falling for this trap. Here's a small list:
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI):Whitehouse said that he "cannot support" a proposal that includes chained CPI because it "would force seniors to pay for deficits Social Security had no part in creating."
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): In her statement opposing chained CPI, Warren called it a "fancy way" to say "cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans."
- Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI):Pocan said he will "I will not support [chained CPI]. I will not vote for any bill that includes [it]."
- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA): Huffman reacted to the President's budget by saying, "I strongly oppose chained CPI, and I will vote against these benefit cuts should they come before the House."
- Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): Cicilline said he is "disappointed that this budget proposal includes the use of chained CPI, which reduces benefits that seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities have earned over the course of their lives."
- Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME): Pingree condemned chained CPI and said she would "against cuts to benefits in these programs."
- Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH): Fudge, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, signed onto the Grayson-Takano letter vowing to vote against any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits.