Chained CPI

THE NATION: Pushback Against Safety Net Cuts During August Recess

There’s been a lot of coverage about what members are hearing from their constituents about immigration during this recess, and rightly so. But there’s another huge decision Congress must make this fall: funding the government and avoiding the debt ceiling. These negotiations have always produced talk, from both Democrats and Republicans, about cutting safety net—and members of Congress are hearing from their constituents on that, too.

Meanwhile, a coalition of progressive groups—including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, Credo Action, MoveOn.org, Progressives United and Social Security Works—have mobilized to back a plan from Senators Harkin and Mark Begich to actually boost Social Security benefits.

This campaign reared its head in Kentucky this week, where the PCCC released an ad calling on Mitch McConnell to support an expansion of benefits.

MSNBC: Progressive group hits McConnell over Social Security

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is the latest to pile on Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is facing a contentious re-election, with a new ad launching Thursday hitting the Kentucky Republican over Social Security benefits.

In the ad, auto worker Kirk Gillenwaters talks about the financial challenges he’s faced, and why he’s relying on the entitlement program as part of his retirement planning.

ABC: Progressive Ad Hits Mitch McConnell on Social Security, Medicare

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is launching a new television ad pushing embattled Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.

The ad features Kirk Gillenwaters, a Louisville, Ky., worker who has been employed at a Ford plant for decades.

“We work hard for these companies and we’re promised a secure retirement in return,” Gillenwaters says. “But our pensions are being cut and we need Social Security.”

“When Sen. Mitch McConnell supports cutting Social Security, he’s breaking a promise – and he’s hurting our families,” he continues.

CNN: McConnell hit on Social Security in new PCCC ad

A progressive group targeting Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a television ad Thursday, calling on the Senate minority leader to expand Social Security as the powerful Republican fights to hold on to his seat next year.

The 30-second spot features Kirk Gillenwaters, who says he started working at the Ford plant in Louisville when he was 18.

The ad from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee will run into next week on Louisville broadcast. The group says it spent $21,000 on the initial buy, adding to the $100,000 it has already spent against McConnell in Kentucky.

HONOLULU CIVIL BEAT: Schatz Calls for Expanded Social Security Benefits

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement to Civil Beat, “Every week, we hear about corporations that cut the pensions they promised to workers. As a result, Social Security has never been more important. Senator Harkin’s bill, which Senator Brian Schatz was among the first to support, will expand Social Security benefits for our grandparents and veterans. And by requiring the wealthy to pay the same rate into Social Security as the rest of us, Harkin and Schatz would pay for the benefit increase and have trillions left over to keep Social Security strong for decades.” Last week, the group pushed the idea at rallies in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas.

TEARFUL PLEA: Woman Breaks Down To Lawmaker

It was Democrat versus Democrat at times during Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s event in a Des Moines retirement center Tuesday. But a woman’s emotional plea for help is what captured the attention of room full of dozens of retirees.

Harkin hosted the event with a number of Democratic-friendly groups, including the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, Progress Iowa, The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy For America, MoveOn.org, Social Security Works, and Credo Action.

Harkin, as well as some speakers expressed frustration with President Barack Obama’s previous push to change the way the government determines the yearly increases in social security benefits.

MASSLIVE: Progressive group to hold online debate in Massachusetts 5th District congressional race

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee will be running a unique online debate on Saturday featuring all five Democratic candidates in the 5th Congressional District.

The debate, which will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, will be run through the website OpenDebateQuestions.com, which the PCCC is debuting for this event. The public will submit questions and then vote on which questions they like. Massachusetts voters will pick the top 50 questions, and moderators will choose from those questions to ask the candidates. The candidates will participate via video from remote locations. So far, people have submitted more than 300 questions.

Tech President: MA Democratic Primary Candidates To Participate In Crowdsourced Online Debate

Five Democrats who are running to fill an open seat in the Fifth District of Massachusetts will participate in a novel interactive online debate format this Saturday, thanks to the efforts of a progressive group that’s been pushing to change the passive broadcast format of televised political debates for the past six years.

The five Democrats are running to fill Democratic Senator Ed Markey’s old seat in Massachusetts, an area that encompasses the suburbs to the north and west of Boston. They’ll be participating in a debate format that will include live questions from Massachusetts residents whose questions had been submitted online and voted up Reddit-style. Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the organizers of the event, will moderate, and they’ll invite those whose questions received the most votes to participate.

The Top 5 Reasons Jason Furman Shouldn’t Be Obama’s Top Economic Adviser

Jason Furman

Bloomberg reported late yesterday that President Obama plans to nominate Harvard economist Jason Furman as his next head of his Council of Economic Advisers.

This would be very bad news for progressives because of Furman’s advocacy for right-wing policies. Here’s five reasons why Furman shouldn’t be Obama’s top economic adviser:

He’s An Advocate Of Job-Killing “Free Trade” Deals: In an article in the Harvard Law & Policy Review, Furman criticized the growing opposition to so-called free trade deals — which have trade rules rigged in favor of big corporations and do not actually enact unfettered trade. He criticized this opposition as a “serious threat to our economic well-being” and offered support for more job-killing trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea (those agreements are expected to cost the United States over 200,000 jobs).
He Supports Wal-Mart’s Anti-Worker Practices:  Furman wrote an article calling Wal-Mart a “progressive success story,” and praised the “progressive benefits of everyday low prices” — which are subsidized by the low wages of not only its American workforce but Chinese workers in factories earning as little as $120 a month. He said that the”mere fact that more than 1.3 million Americans work at Wal-Mart demonstrates that its compensation is at least as good as the alternatives” — despite the fact data shows that the company’s workers earn “12.4% less than retail workers as a whole and 13% less than large retail workers in general.” He dismissed criticism from progressives, saying, “Some have pointed to Costco (which has higher wages and more generous benefits),  arguing that if Wal-Mart were more generous with its employees it would do better at attracting,  motivating, and retaining them, increasing its total profits. I have no ability to judge whether or  not this is true, …

Report: Obama’s Social Security Benefit Cuts Would Disproportionately Harm African Americans

Momentum continues to build against President Obama’s proposed chained CPI cut to Social Security and veterans benefits, with 40 Members of Congress endorsing the Grayson-Takano letter rejecting any cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits.

The think tank Global Policy Solutions released a report today that should cast further doubt on chained CPI. It finds that, if enacted, chained CPI “will disproportionately harm African Americans who have dramatically fewer sources of wealth to draw upon compared to whites.”

The reason why is because African Americans are more likely to rely on Social Security benefits as a large portion of their income. One example the report uses is “forty-seven percent of African American seniors rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income in retirement, compared to 33 percent of their white counterparts.” It also notes that Obama’s proposed exemptions for the very old would be less likely to benefit African Americans, because average life expectancy for African American men after the age of 65 is two  years shorter than white men, making  them less likely to be eligible for the proposed exemption for the very old.”

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

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THE MILWAUKEE-WISCONSIN JOURNAL SENTINEL: Liberals pressure Gwen Moore to pledge to oppose all cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid benefits

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal political action committee, is asking its supporters to call U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) and urge her to sign the so-called Grayson-Takano letter.

“Representative Gwen Moore has not yet signed the letter, and she is hurting the ability of progressive leaders to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits,” the email to supporters says.

The letter, to be sent to President Barack Obama, is signed by 39 Democratic House members, including Alan Grayson of Florida and Mark Takano of California.

POLL: Clear Majority Of Americans Oppose Chained CPI

As progressive, senior, and veterans groups mobilize against the chained CPI — a recalculation of veterans and Social Security programs that would result in a benefits cut — a new poll finds that a majority of Americans opposes this change.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that 51 percent of Americans oppose chained CPI and only 37 percent support it. Parsing out the results further, the Washington Post notes that the major group supporting the change is American who earn six-figures, and that middle and lower-income Americans are most hostile to the policy:

Income is also a dividing line in tolerance for Social Security cuts. Americans with annual incomes of at least $100,000 back the proposal by a 53 to 39 percent margin, but support plummets to 38 percent among those making $50,000 to under $100,000 and to 33 percent among those with incomes below $50,000. Support bottoms out at 25 percent among those with lower incomes who are over the age of 50.

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

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Obama Budget Cuts Social Security By $200 Billion, But Gives The Pentagon Twice That Much

President Obama has proposed enacting chained CPI, which would reduce spending on Social Security benefits by $200 billion over the next ten years. This has provoked outrage from progressive groups, and from groups representing seniors and veterans (whose benefits are also impacted by this change).

But something that has gotten less attention is the fact that President Obama’s budget also gives twice this much money — $400 billion — to the Pentagon over the next decade, by reducing sequester cuts down to $100 billion rather than $500 billion over the next ten years.

That means that Obama is essentially cutting Social Security’s budget by $200 billion while giving twice that much money to the Pentagon. Last night, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean tweeted that this sort of deal is enough for him to become an independent.

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

You should follow BoldProgressives on Twitter here.

Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter: ‘I Will Not Vote For A Budget That Supports Chained CPI’

Rep. Carol Shea Porter (D-NH)

New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter (D-NH) released a statement this week saying that she cannot vote for any budget that includes chained CPI, as Obama’s does:

“I believe a budget should reflect America’s values of fairness and opportunity. It should create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and keep our commitment to seniors.

“There has been a lot of talk recently about chained CPI, and I want to make one thing abundantly clear to the middle class families and seniors I represent: I will not vote for a budget that supports chained CPI and cuts benefits that seniors have earned through a lifetime of hard work.

“Together with Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security embodies the moral fabric of our country. These programs are the foundation of economic security for America’s seniors and the most vulnerable. [...]

“I am proud to support legislation to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security. The Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act, which I cosponsored, would create long-range solvency and improve benefits, and it would ensure greater economic security for America’s seniors.

“I urge the President to consider the approach taken in the Van Hollen budget, legislation that would reduce our deficit in a balanced way, invest in programs that help our economy grow, and maintain our commitment to seniors.

“I look forward to working with the President to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and keep the American dream alive for generations to come, but I remain steadfast in my opposition to balancing the budget on the backs of seniors, veterans, or the middle class.”

At least 40 Members of the House of Representatives have said they will not vote for chained CPI.

Call your Member of Congress and ask them to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter vowing to …

Sheldon Whitehouse: I ‘Cannot Support’ A Bill With Chained CPI

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced his opposition to a budget proposal with chained CPI today. Here’s a statement he issued on the matter:

 

“I made a promise to the people of Rhode Island that I would always oppose cuts to Social Security, and I’m going to keep that promise. Social Security is fully solvent for the next twenty years, has not contributed to our budget deficits, and has no place in this debate over federal spending. The so-called ‘chained CPI’ proposal included in President Obama’s budget is nothing more than a benefit cut disguised behind technical jargon. While I commend the President for including some smart provisions in his budget like investments in infrastructure and the Buffett Rule for tax fairness, I cannot support a proposal that would force seniors to pay for deficits Social Security had no part in creating.”

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

You should follow BoldProgressives on Twitter here.

NATIONAL JOURNAL DAILY: Progressives Fight Obama on Entitlements with Eye on 2014

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are two grassroots progressive groups threatening to back a primary challenge to any Democrat who votes to use the chained CPI measure. “If people don’t represent their constituents back home and pursue an agenda of cutting Social Security benefits,… then, yeah, there needs to be accountability in 2014, and we’re very serious,” said PCCC cofounder Adam Green. He added that his group has already taken the first step by asking people who signed the petition if they would be willing to run for Congress to defend entitlements. More than 1,300 members said yes, he said.

Republicans Preview 2014 Election Strategy: Democrats Want To Cut Social Security Benefits

Chained CPI gives Republicans a political opening.

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 …

Democratic Congressman Jared Huffman: ‘I Will Vote Against’ Chained CPI

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)

Yesterday, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) vowed to vote against chained CPI, issuing a statement saying, “While there is much in the President’s budget to admire, I strongly oppose chained CPI, and I will vote against these benefit cuts should they come before the House.”

That puts the number of Members of the House of Representatives who have vowed to vote against chained CPI at 35.

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

And call your Member of Congress and ask them to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter vowing to vote against any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits.

You should follow BoldProgressives on Twitter here.

Elizabeth Warren ‘Shocked’ By Obama Chained CPI Proposal To Cut Benefits For Seniors, Vets

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) just sent out an email to her supporters responding to President Obama’s budget, which includes a chained CPI that would cut Social Security and veterans benefits.

Warren says she’s “shocked” by Obama’s proposal, which would amount to a “fancy way to say ‘cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans.’” Read Warren’s full e-mail below:

Hi Mindy,

My brother David has always had the special spark in our family.

Like our two older brothers, David served in the military. When he got out, he started a small business — and when that one didn’t work out, he started another one. He couldn’t imagine an America where he wasn’t living by his wits every single day.

Year after year, my brother paid into Social Security. He never questioned it. He figured he was paying so that he — and a lot of other people — could have a secure retirement.

Today my brother lives on his Social Security. That’s about $1,100 a month. $13,200 a year.

I’m telling you my brother’s story not because it’s unusual, but because it’s like the story of so many other people. I can almost guarantee that you know someone — a family member, friend, or neighbor — who counts on Social Security checks to get by.

That’s why I was shocked to hear that the President’s newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch.

The President’s policy proposal, known as “chained CPI,” would re-calculate the cost of living for Social Security beneficiaries. That new number won’t keep up with inflation on things like food and health care — the basics that we need to live.

In short, “chained …

Bill O’Reilly Says Progressives ‘May Have A Point’ In Their Opposition To Chained CPI

Last night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly covered the progressive rally against the chained CPI outside the White House yesterday.

While O’Reilly spent much of the segment disagreeing with progressives about various issues, he explained why he thinks they “may have a point” about opposing chained CPI.

O’REILLY: Let’s be honest about this for a minute. [...] My mother Mrs. O’Reilly, without her son Bill, who helps her out, big time, needs that Social Security bump. If I wasn’t here she would need it, alright, to keep paying her property taxes which are exorbitant, in Nassau County, to stay in the home. She’s 90. If the President is going to take Mrs. O’Reilly’s [Social Security] and every body else, seniors who don’t have any money away, then those left-wing groups may have a point.

Watch it: (Relevant section starts at 3:23):

It shouldn’t be surprising that even a hardcore conservative like O’Reilly is troubled by chained CPI. Polling conducted by the AARP finds that even 60 percent of Republicans over the age of 50 oppose using chained CPI to cut Social Security benefits.

Click here to tell President Obama you won’t stand for Social Security benefit cuts.

You should follow BoldProgressives on Twitter here.

 

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Liberals Oppose Obama Over Entitlement Cuts

Groups attacking Obama over the proposed cuts are the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America. AARP, a powerful group representing seniors, is also campaigning against Obama’s proposed Social Security cuts.

Some liberals want to mount primary challenges against Democratic legislators who support the entitlement reductions. This tactic of challenging incumbents in party primaries is a favorite of the political right, and it has caused some Republican legislators to toe the conservative line rather than face an intraparty challenge. This is the dynamic that activists on the left are now threatening.

VIDEO: Progressives Present 2 Million Signatures Against Chained CPI At The White House

Today at 12:30 PM ET, organizations representing tens of millions of Americans — including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Social Security Works, MoveOn, CREDO,  the National Organization of Women, Democracy for America — are presenting a petition signed by over 2 million Americans to the White House asking President Obama to back off of his support for chained CPI.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who said he would do everything in his power to block this policy — will be speaking, as will Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA). There will also be remarks by former Obama supporters and seniors currently on Social Security. Watch a livestream of our rally and press conference at 12:30 PM ET:

The PCCC is preparing to push back against this cut to Social Security benefits, but we need your help. Sign our emergency petition against benefit cuts. And call your Member of Congress and ask them to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter vowing to vote against any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits.

THE NATION: Two Million Petitioners Urge Rejection of ‘Chained-CPI’ Social Security Cut

US Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Mark Takano, Congressman Mark Pocan, Congressman Rick Nolan and leaders of organizations that oppose President Obama’s anticipated assault on Social Security went to the White House Tuesday to present petitions signed by 2.3-million Americans who reject the president’s proposal for “chained-CPI.”

The “chained-CPI” scheme would restructure cost-of-living adjustments in a way that cuts Social Security benefits for millions of seniors and veterans.

Sanders has vowed to “do everything in my power to block President Obama’s proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients through a chained consumer price index.”

And he’s got allies. Joining the senator and the House members at the White House were representatives of Social Security Works, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the National Organization for Women, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, the Campaign for America’s Future and MoveOn.org.

Rep. Chellie Pingree Condemns Chained CPI And Joins Over 30 Others Vowing To Vote Against It

Last week, the press reported that President Obama will include the “chained CPI” in his budget proposal, which would cut Social Security and veterans benefits. Since this proposal was revealed, national progressive groups have campaigned against it and will deliver over 1 million petition signatures to the White House tomorrow asking the President to back off of chained CPI.

As the grassroots has mobilized against the proposal, more congressional Democrats are declaring their opposition.

This morning, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) released a statement condemning Chained CPI and vowing to vote against it:

“No matter what you call it, a chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits.  For someone who retirees today, that cut would mean they would be getting $650 less a year when they are 75 and over $1,100 less a year when they reach age 85.  Seniors shouldn’t be facing cuts to the benefits they have earned while millionaires and billionaires are getting a tax break.  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are vital to the economic security of Maine people and I will vote against cuts to benefits in these programs.”

Pingree is joined by many other Members in her opposition:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, tweeted that he’d do “everything in his power” to block chained CPI:

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR):

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA):

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY):

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA):

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), in a statement emailed …

HUFFINGTON POST: Obama’s Social Security Cut Proposal Sparks Backlash, Threats Of Primary Contests

Progressive-leaning groups reacted quickly and angrily to news that President Barack Obama is proposing cuts to Social Security, going so far as to threaten to mount primary challenges against congressional Democrats who sign on to Obama’s plan.

“You can’t call yourself a Democrat and support Social Security benefit cuts,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in a statement that was among many fired off by liberal groups Friday.

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