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.
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.
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 Pennsylvania legislature is currently locked in a battle over the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, with Republicans in the state lining up against the expansion.
Last night, health care activist AJ Marin, working to support the expansion, chalked the following messages outside Governor Tom Corbett’s (R-PA) mansion:
For this act of chalking on behalf of the uninsured, Pennsylvania police did this:
That’s right, they arrested him. Here’s the arrest citation, saying he made a “derogatory remark” about the Governor:
To recap, Corbett is denying 700,000 Pennsylvania citizens access to health insurance, and Pennsylvania’s police just arrested one man for protesting that fact with water-soluble chalk.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is at Netroots Nation, and our co-founder Adam Green is on a panel titled “Weak Democrats Vs. Strong Progressives: Lessons From The Social Security Fight” alongside Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Mark Takano (D-CA) and Credo Mobile’s Becky Bond talking about how progressives build political power. Blogger Heather “Digby” Parton will be hosting, and we will use the panel to discuss how progressives have been fighting President Obama’s proposed cuts to Social Security benefits and how progressives are fighting back and even proposing to expand these benefits instead. Hear behind-the-scenes stories on power, progressive organizing, and the Democratic Party.
Below you can watch a livestream of the panel, which will begin at 7:30 PM EST today, with a pre-game conversation starting at 7:15 PM EST.
PCCC fellow Andrew Villeneuve will also be live blogging the panel as it happens.
Hey everyone, it’s Andrew. Welcome to our live coverage of Weak Democrats vs. Strong Progressives: Lessons from the Social Security Fight. If you’re able to tune in to our livestream above, you’re welcome to follow along from home in addition to reading live updates here in this post. We’ll be getting started in just a few minutes!
4:30 PM: Here we go! Again, we are livestreaming this panel above. Feel free to tune in and watch from home. Heather Parton, who blogs as Digby, will moderate our discussion for the next hour and fifteen minutes.
4:43 PM: …
40 Members of the House of Representatives have signed onto the Grayson-Takano letter promising to vote against any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits.
But one congressman who has not is Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). Local Los Angeles resident Kim Kaufman attended a recent town hall event with him and asked him to sign the letter. This was his response, where he compared the Grayson-Takano letter to Washington lobbyist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge:
I would not sign onto any letter that says under no circumstances would I vote for a bill that had that in it. It’s like the Republicans pledge they’ll never vote for tax increases. I don’t want to sign onto a pledge that under no circumstances will I ever do something. I’ll express my feelings not to do certain things but I don’t want to make that kind of a pledge. I can see possibilities that some things that we don’t like may be in a final budget and that will get us a lot of things we do want. So I’m not going to sign an unequivocal pledge — for a bill maybe, but not against it.
Kaufman uploaded this video where she read off Waxman’s statement and offered her own response. “Taking a pledge not to cut Social Security is not like taking a pledge not to raise taxes on already rich people. One is a moral response in how to govern and one is not,” she says. Watch it:
Last month, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) held a briefing call with PCCC members where he explained his own take on how the Grayson-Takano letter is very much not like the Norquist pledge:
“I had a reporter ask me recently ‘Is this just …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Progressive groups and lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are blasting the Obama administration for cuts to Social Security and other programs expected to be unveiled in the president’s budget next week.
Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, warned that “progressives will do everything possible” to prevent the cuts.
When the White House released its budget today, it was clear the president hadn’t listened to the increasingly urgent threats and pleadings from the people who helped elect him, as his spending proposal includes a change to the way Social Security benefits are calculated, called the chained CPI, as well as changes to Medicare. The cut is anathema to liberal activists and lawmakers, who have gone all in to oppose the cut, warning Obama would face a “huge backlash” from his own base if he endorsed it. Now they’re threatening primary challenges against any Democrats who vote for their president’s budget. “You can’t call yourself a Democrat and support Social Security benefit cuts,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group which endorses liberals in primaries, sometimes against establishment picks.
Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Edward Markey reached out to progressive activists around the country on Thursday, doing a 45-minute phone call with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee… [He] touted his history favoring public financing of campaigns, advocating for net neutrality, opposing the Defense of Marriage Act and supporting a public option in health insurance, and eventually a single payer system.
Five Social Security recipients from Pasadena and surrounding communities brought a letter bearing 1,029 signatures to Chu’s office and asked her to add her own… The letter — known as the Grayson-Takano letter for its authors, Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fl.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.) — is addressed to President Obama and vows that its signees will not vote for any cuts to the programs, including raising the retirement age or reducing the amount of disbursements.
Yesterday, constituents working with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, CREDO Action, and Democracy for America visited Congressman Patrick Murphy’s (D-FL) office to ask him to sign the Grayson-Takano letter pledging to vote against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. They presented the office with a petition in favor of the letter signed by 702 constituents. Recall that Murphy recently signed a letter with dozens of House Republicans calling for deficit reduction and which only embraced protecting current beneficiaries’ benefits. As Americablog notes, the letter has the support of more Republicans than Democrats and is essentially “pro-cuts.”
“Those of us who are trying to hold onto our Social Security, our Medicare…my husband and I couldn’t live without Medicare or Social Security,” Norma Riccobene said to Murphy’s district director Michael Kinney. “We paid into Social Security, we paid into Medicare. Don’t tell me you’re going to cut it or tweak it.”
“There’s no doubt Congressman Murphy’s committed to the integrity of those programs,” responded Kinney.
Watch the visit:
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on a conference call Wednesday, reiterated his strong opposition to any proposed cuts in benefits to Social Security, Medicare and Medicare, saying he is happy to let President Obama know that he “won’t use his vote to hurt the needy.”
Grayson, who was joined by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), along with nearly 1,000 media and activists from across the country, has garnered the signatures of 27 members of Congress on a “No Cuts” letter that rejects any cuts in benefits to the social safety nets…
Today’s conference call was organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and chaired by its co-founder Adam Green who said that, over 200,000 supporters had already signed the “No Cuts” letter, “a true testament to grass-roots energy around this issue.”
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: Sequester Cuts: Democratic House Members Tell Obama They Will Block Efforts To Cut Medicare, Social Security
Everything from public education to child care subsidies and aviation safety could be on the chopping block. But a group of more than 20 Democrats are petitioning Obama in the hopes of ensuring the nation’s most critical social-safety-net programs will not be subject to budget cuts.
“Democrats have built the most popular government programs in American history — including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — by working with Republicans whenever possible and by defeating Republican opposition whenever necessary. The torch has been passed to today’s elected officials, and we must carry it forward boldly,” states the letter, authored by Reps. Alan Grayson (Fla.) and Mark Takano (Calif.).
Last week, PCCC member Patricia Kerekes went to Rep. Carol Shea Porter ‘s (D-NH) office to ask the Congresswoman to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter promising to vote against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits.
Shea-Porter’s staffer, Carol Perry, took the letter Kerekes gave to her and then assured Perry, “She’s not going to compromise. She’s not going to take any cuts.” Watch it:
21 House Democrats have signed the letter by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Mark Takano (D-CA) vowing to vote against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits.
Last Friday, Progressive Change Campaign Committee members in Oregon presented a petition signed by 1,372 constituents asking Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter.
“I’m the widow of a federal employee and 78 years old. So I have been on Medicare for quite a few years,” explained Margaret Wills about the importance of opposing cuts. “If I didn’t have that Medicare…I would probably be either dead or on the streets by now.”
“I look upon it as, this is not really about balancing the budget as much as it is part of the campaign from the time Medicare and Social Security were put in place to get rid of them,” she concluded about those advocating for benefit cuts.
25 people attended the event to petition the congresswoman. Marshal Jevning, one of Bonamici’s staffer’s, says it was the most people that had ever visited the office at one time for a constituent visit.
Watch the visit:
In advance of any upcoming budget deal, progressive groups have begun pushing House Democrats to sign a letter to President Obama indicating that they will not back anything that cuts entitlement benefits. As of Wednesday, the letter, originally written by progressive Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Mark Takano (D-CA), had 10 additional signers.
The coalition pushing the letter, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn.org and Credo Action, announced it also added two unions, the National Nurses Union and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, to the list.
The groups said 110,000 supporters had also signed the letter within 24 hours of it being put online and supporters have placed more than 4,000 calls to members of Congress.
HUFFINGTON POST: As Sequester Threatens Entitlement Programs, Progressive Coalition Warns Democrats Against Cuts
As Congress continues to debate a possible replacement to the $1.2 trillion in sequestration-related cuts set to kick in on March 1, a coalition of progressive organizations on Wednesday launched an effort urging Democratic lawmakers to reject to any deal that entails cuts to benefits from popular entitlement programs.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy For America, MoveOn, CREDO Action, Rebuild The Dream, the New York-based Working Families Party and Social Security Work are endorsing a letter to President Barack Obama, signed by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), warning against cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.
Progressive activists fired a shot across the bow of congressional Democrats on Wednesday, warning them to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or face a primary challenge. Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said Democrats would face a “nuclear war on the left” if they supported cuts to the safety net programs. “We will probably have a fractured party for the next two years” if Democrats cave to Republican demands, Green said on CSPAN, “which would be to the detriment of this president and very unfortunate. There will absolutely be Democratic primaries in the next round of congressional elections. We would probably start right away recruiting challengers.”
BOSTON GLOBE: Progressive group launches petition urging appointment of Barney Frank as interim senator
The liberal advocacy group that helped draft Elizabeth Warren into the US Senate campaign in 2011 is now trying to make Barney Frank her junior senator. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent an email to 25,000 Massachusetts members Wednesday afternoon asking them to sign an online petition urging Governor Deval Patrick to appoint Frank as the state’s interim senator. The group also launched a website, AppointBarneyFrank.com.