CALIFORNIA: With the retirement of Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), the liberal group Progressive Change Campaign Committee says it’s making the district a priority, and it will endorse Dr. Lee Rogers for the seat.
Anti-spying protestors were mostly disappointed by President Obama’s proposed reforms to the NSA surveillance program. Obama kept it vague, and defended the program as necessary for national security. Karissa Gerhke, an organizer with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, says though she doesn’t think the president is doing enough, there is still something to celebrate. “The main thing here today is that Obama’s announcement today would not have been possible without Edward Snowden,” says Gerhke.
Yesterday, GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, a longtime member of Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, announced his retirement. The move could pave the way for an interesting experiment, one that could provide a glimpse into how progressive policies play in a swing district that’s already very difficult for Democrats.
The Democrat vying for the seat in California’s 25th District is Dr. Lee Rogers, who not only aggressively embraces Obamacare, but wants to expand it to achieve “universal” coverage, and even wants to expand Social Security. In an indication of what this candidacy might look like, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which supports Rogers, notes that he champions “Medicare access for all,” and in a PCCC email going out today, Rogers says:
“I’ll fight to allow people to buy into Medicare. I’ll push for Medicare to negotiate drug prices to lower costs. And I promise to help bring us closer to universal healthcare coverage.”
President Barack Obama announced Friday significant changes to National Security Agency permissions and policies — changes that the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) says never would have occurred were it not for the actions of agency leaker Edward Snowden.
“Obama’s announcement today would not have been possible without Edward Snowden,” committee organizer Karissa Gerhke said in a statement Friday. He is a hero and a whistle-blower, and deserves clemency.”
The PCCC has raised more than $45,000 via the Edward Snowden Legal Defense Fund while advocating for Snowden’s pardon.
As a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Adam Green might be expected to lead the effort, but Warren’s decision to remain on the sidelines has left him resigned to seek concessions from the overwhelming front runner. Clinton “determines her own fate,” Green tells Time. “If she embraces things like more Wall Street reform and expanding Social Security benefits instead of cutting them, there will be very little space for a primary challenge of the left.”
Elizabeth Warren has pledged she will not seek the White House in 2016, but that has not stopped diehard Warren boosters from promoting her political profile in presidential primary states, saying she is best positioned to push the Democratic Party to the left.
A group called Progressive Change Campaign Committee is waging the most visible of these pro-Warren crusades, training volunteers, meeting with labor leaders in New Hampshire, and handing out stickers with Warren’s name.
SALON: Third Way senior vice president admits majority of think tank’s funding comes from Wall Street
Ever since it caused an outpouring of indignation on the left by attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Wall Street Journal, Third Way, the neoliberal think tank, has been ducking questions about where, exactly, its funding comes from.
But at a demonstration on Wednesday outside its Washington, D.C., office, senior vice president Matt Bennett admitted that, contrary to the impression Third Way initially gave of the finance sector providing a minuscule amount of its funding, Third Way’s money comes overwhelmingly from its board of trustees — which, as Daily Kos and others have shown, is itself overwhelmingly composed of people who make their living in finance.
Asked by Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green to name a percentage of Third Way’s funding that comes from people in the finance sector — rather than institutions — Bennett conceded that “the majority of our financial support [comes] from trustees.” When Green pressed Bennett for a “ball park” or a “percentage” guess, Bennett demurred. “I’m not going to get into that,” he said.
On a brisk, sunny Wednesday afternoon a handful of protesters stood outside of 1025 Connecticut Ave NW in Washington, while a boisterous woman led the group’s chants. “What is America going to be?” they asked. “Corporate Greed or Democracy?”
People from all across the country, including retirees and caregivers from Illinois, Montana, and North Carolina, had been brought together by leftist organizations Social Security Works and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) to denounce Third Way, a centrist democratic think tank, and their stance on social security.
“Up with America,” they jeered at the façade of the building housing the group’s headquarters, holding signs that read “We are from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party,” a signal of support for the freshman senator who supports expanding Social Security. “Down with Third Way.”
Progressives, led by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, pushed back hard on Third Way’s attack on Elizabeth Warren and their claim that economic populism was “disastrous” for Democrats. As a growing team of progressive groups joined the fray, Third Way’s Democratic co-chairs started distancing themselves from the attack. The New York Times called the campaign’s success ”the latest indication that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is ascendant.”
In a sign of the left’s new aggressiveness, a coalition of liberals is trying to marginalize a centrist Democratic policy group that was responsible for a Wall Street Journal op-ed article this week that said economic populism was “disastrous” for the party.
The coalition, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and three other liberal advocacy organizations have urged their members to contact a group of congressional Democrats who are honorary leaders of the centrist group, Third Way. It published the op-ed article on Monday contending that the liberalism of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio of New York City and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts would lead Democrats “over the populist cliff.”
The article — written by Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, and Jim Kessler, its senior vice president for policy — criticizes progressives like Ms. Warren and Mr. de Blasio for opposing measures to cut … Social Security and Medicare.
The liberal groups’ campaign has already gotten results, the latest indication that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is ascendant.
HUFFINGTON POST: Elizabeth Warren, Liberals Hit Back Against Third Way After Economic Populist Attack
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressives United and Democracy For America all called on Schwartz Tuesday to resign from her position as honorary co-chair of Third Way. Democratic primary opponent John Hanger echoed the demand. Mark Bergman, a spokesman for Schwartz, said she would not resign but said in an email to The Huffington Post that she thought the op-ed was “outrageous, and strongly disagrees with it.”
TALKING POINTS MEMO: Progressive Change Campaign Committee Calls For Dem Rep. To Cut Ties To Third Way
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is calling on Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) to drop her affiliation with the think tank Third Way.
Schwartz, who is currently running for governor, serves as an honorary co-chair of the think tank. The call, made by PCCC co-founder Adam Green in an email to supporters on Wednesday, is the latest shot in a recently in an escalating feud between Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Third Way.
The Liberal Fix team was very excited to sit down with the Press Secretary for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and talk about the challenges that progressives face, the opportunities that exist, as well as their recent focus on expanding Social Security.
The PCCC has played a large part in moving the dialogue on Social Security away from decreasing benefits to expanding existing benefits.
Most recently and notably Senator Warren offered her full support for expanding Social Security and made a very public statement in support of the effort.
Add Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to the growing chorus of voices calling for the expansion of Social Security benefits.
Groups such as MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America’s Future, Patriot Majority and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have been campaigning for expanded Social Security benefits since the re-introduction of Harkin’s legislation.
“Social Security is incredibly effective, it is incredibly popular, and the calls for strengthening it are growing louder every day,” Warren said.
But Harkin’s bill, which has also drawn the support of Begich, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has forced the issue into the political mainstream, and Warren’s backing turns the issue into a likely topic in the 2016 Democratic presidential race.
“This summer no one even talked about (expanding benefits), but now we’re really building momentum,” Kimberly Fountain, campaign director for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told Raw Story.
If Elizabeth Warren is emerging as a kind of spokeswoman for the new economic populism that many Democratic activists want the party to embrace heading into 2014 and 2016, this speech that Warren is currently delivering on the floor of the Senate suggests the push to expand Social Security could become a key issue in the argument over the Democratic Party of the future.
In remarks Warren just began delivering, she strongly endorsed the push to boost Social Security benefits — in keeping with Senator Tom Harkin’s proposal to do the same — and condemned the “Chained CPI” that liberals fear Dems will embrace in strong terms.
By planting a flag on the need to expand Social Security, Warren may have just added this issue to the pantheon of preoccupations that are driving those who want to see the party embrace a more economically populist posture going forward. Liberal bloggers such as Atrios and liberal groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, have been pushing for a Social Security expansion, arguing that Democratic priorities should be centered on the idea that declining pensions and wages (and savings) are undermining retirement security, and that the party should above all stand against undermining the social insurance system.
Elizabeth Warren is a popular figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party due to her aggressive focus on inequality and financial reform. Last week, The New Republic’s Noam Schieber floated her as a potential candidate in the 2016 Democratic Party, where should could serve as a foil to the more Wall Street-friendly Hillary Clinton.
The PCCC has not said that it is trying to draft Warren into the race. Instead, the group appears to be trying to demonstrate the popularity of her anti-austerity, pro-financial reform message in the hopes that other Democratic politicians will begin to emulate it.
In a statement on O’Malley’s keynote speech, PCCC spokesperson Matt Wall alluded to who the real target of the organization’s “Elizabeth Warren wing” campaign might be: Not O’Malley, who is currently polling at 0% among New Hampshire Democrats, but presidential heir apparent Hillary Clinton.
“It’s fantastic that Governor O’Malley took the fight to those who would cut Social Security benefits. That’s a winning message for Democrats and a potentially defining issue in any Democratic primary,” said Wall. “Hopefully Hillary Clinton soon says that she opposes any cuts to Social Security benefits—and makes clear that Democrats are united around that position going into 2016.”
TBQ’s Alexia Nader interviews Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).
After meeting as student activists and organizers at the University of Virginia, Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor worked at MoveOn.org before leaving to found the PCCC. Prior to that launch, Green had worked in press and communications for several Democratic campaigns and party committees, while Taylor spent several years as a union organizer of health care workers in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. PCCC’s stated mission is “to build progressive power by changing who holds power.” Their website’s domain name is even more succinct: BoldProgressives.org.
“Social Security in 2016 could be the Iraq of 2008, meaning a definitive issue that primary voters make decisions based on,” said Adam Green, co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is leading a concerted charge to expand Social Security benefits. Roger Hickey, director of the Campaign for America’s Future, characterized the coming battle over reforming the nation’s safety-net programs as a seminal moment for Democrats. “It’s a real point of conflict and battle within the Democratic Party. It endangers the Democrats’ ability to win elections. You don’t want to go into a presidential election saying, ‘I’m going to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.’ That’s the formula for making sure there’s not the first woman president.” And Justin Ruben, the head of the eight-million member MoveOn.org, has been even more unequivocal, saying in April, “Any Democrat who is voting to cut Social Security benefits is probably kissing his or her presidential aspirations goodbye.”
As Republicans and Democrats alike talk about trimming social safety-net programs to reduce deficits, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is pushing a proposal to increase Social Security benefits.
“There are plenty of ways to … get in a better place in the budget,” Brown said in call with reporters and PCCC members Wednesday. “Cutting social security is not one of them.”
He has signed onto a bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, that would make the Social Security benefit formula a tad more generous, would give seniors more robust cost-of-living increases, and would require wealthier Americans to pay more in Social Security taxes.
A growing coalition of progressive groups and seniors’ organizations are gathering behind Sen. Tom Harkin’s bill to expand Social Security benefits. On a conference call with PCCC members, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was asked by a supporter whether such a measure would stand a chance in a Congress that can’t seem to come together to pass any constructive legislation. “It depends on the pressure that you all put on them,” he said. GOP lawmakers, he added, are “always concerned about a right-wing tea party challenge, but the public is clearly with us on this, and I think the more they hear about this the better our chances of winning some of our Republican colleagues over.”
When the new budget conferees met last week, Budget Chairman Paul Ryan ruled out any new taxes, spawning headlines that he had “killed” the grand bargain. The response from progressives? We killed it first.
“Harry Reid already killed it by saying there will be no benefit cuts. Paul Ryan shot bullets into the corpse,” said Adam Green, who heads up the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Unfortunately, this zombie has come back to life many times — and by making the case for why seniors need expanded Social Security benefits, a national coalition of groups will continue working to keep a Grand Bargain dead and off the table.”
Liberal Democrats on the Hill have taken the hint: they are not only outright opposing any changes to Social Security, there’s a small but growing group of Senators who are looking to expand the program. A bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin and backed by Sens. Sherrod Brown, Mark Begich, and Brian Schatz, would do just that.
“The only way that right-wing politicians win on this if cuts to Social Security are buried under the guise of restructuring and reforming entitlements in some other budget deal,” said Brown on a conference call with PCCC supporters. “I cannot believe there will be a major budget deal presented on the floor of the senate that has cuts to Social Security.”
In a town consumed by how quickly and how deeply to cut Social Security, a handful of Democratic senators have a different idea: expand it.
Legislation to this effect was introduced earlier this spring by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013 has since been co-sponsored by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who added his name this week.
Progressive activists are touting the bill, eager to shift the terms of the debate from how much to cut retirement benefits to ways to increase them. The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor union, wants to expand Social Security. Liberal activist groups including MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have made it their new rallying cry.
“Senator Brown’s endorsement of expanding Social Security benefits is a clear sign that Democrats are ready to go on offense after winning the government shutdown, after years of playing defense,” said PCCC’s co-founder Adam Green. “[O]ur polling shows that expanding benefits is super popular even in deep red states like Texas and Kentucky. Progressives are on offense, and we’re not looking back.”
You’ll hear talk of tax and entitlement reform early next year as House and Senate budget conferees once again look for ways out of another fiscal panic. But before you can say “don’t touch my Social Security,” a group of progressives — Democrats in Congress, the AFL-CIO, NOW, MoveOn — is saying: Let’s raise Social Security benefits.
And Ohio Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will join them today.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, composed of activists from liberal and labor organizations behind high-profile political and public policy campaigns such as the draft-Elizabeth Warren movement, wants to boost the annual cost-of-living adjustment. By the time a retiree was age 75, he or she would be getting an extra $452 a year, and $807 more a year by age 85.
This could resonate with retirees — nearly 2 million in Ohio — who learned last week that the 2014 cost-of-living adjustment will be a meager 1.5 percent.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has become the fifth Democratic senator to get behind a push to increase Social Security benefits for seniors, as progressives seek to push back against White House attempts to cut the program.
PCCC co-founder Adam Green said the Brown move gives momentum to the bill which is backed by the AFL-CIO and many of its member unions.
“Senator Brown’s endorsement of expanding Social Security benefits is a clear sign that Democrats are ready to go on offense after winning the government shutdown, after years of playing defense,” Green said.
Senator Sherrod Brown is joining the push to expand Social Security, and he’s making a startling argument: Dems should go on offense on entitlements, rather than let Republicans and Beltway fiscal scolds frame the discussion as one over how muchbenefits should be cut, not one over whether they should be cut at all.
Brown is endorsing Tom Harkin’s bill to expand Social Security benefits, which would boost benefits for beneficiaries by $70 per month, change the cost-of-living calculation to keep pace with rising costs of things seniors need, and scrap the payroll tax cap to strengthen the program over the long term. The crusade to expand Social Security got started with liberal bloggers such as Atrios began pushing for it, and gained some momentum when liberal groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee began mobilizing behind the idea.