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FISCAL TIMES: Social Security Push Helps Schatz Take Hawaii Primary

Progressive Democrats had reason to celebrate Sen. Brian Schatz’s victory over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa late last week in Hawaii’s hurricane-delayed Democratic Senate primary: Schatz is one of a few prominent candidates nationally to call for a major expansion of Social Security benefits.

“This is a huge victory for the populist Elizabeth Warren wing of American politics, and a big blow to the corporate win,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a political advocacy group that strongly backed Schatz’s primary campaign. “Brian Schatz won by campaigning on a bold platform of expanding Social Security benefits.”

PCCC members contributed over $73,000 to Schatz’s campaign, and the organization ran online ads in the final days of the election that stressed the stakes for Social Security, according to a spokesperson.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Progressive Group Endorses Schatz for US Senate in Hawaii, Praises Social Security Support

A progressive group based in Washington has endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in his U.S. Senate race in Hawaii.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee said Tuesday Schatz was one of the first lawmakers to support expanding social security benefits.

Co-founders of the group say they are impressed by Schatz’ leadership on climate issues and his ability to think strategically and plan effectively. They are visiting Hawaii to train organizers and endorse Schatz.

PCCC Endorses Senator Brian Schatz For Re-Election

Today, we are proud to announce our endorsement of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz for re-election in Hawaii.

Social Security is a defining issue in this race.

Brian Schatz was one of the first senators to endorse expanding Social Security benefits.A�His primary opponent refuses to rule out cuts.

When we asked our 4,285 Hawaii members who they support, the answer was overwhelming: By 4 to 1 they support bold progressive Brian Schatz.

PCCC member Gerald, in Honolulu, recently told us, “Brian is the real deal progressive… He’s the clear choice to endorse!” A�We agree.

In addition to being a Social Security hero, Brian Schatz is one of the Senatea��s top leaders on the climate crisis. He recently led an all-night Senate debate that made big news and thrust progressive solutions into the national conversation.

Like Elizabeth Warren,A�Sen. Schatz is a true partner to progressives.A�He recently came to our PCCC candidate training to mentor new candidates.A�And tonight, he will welcome our PCCC team into his campaign headquarters as we start immediately organizing volunteers on his behalf.

Will you donate $3 to Sen. Schatz to help keep this bold progressive in the Senate?


MSNBC: Kentucky attorney general won’t appeal gay marriage ruling

With surging Obamacare enrollments, dismal polling numbers for the Senate’s top Republican, and now, an attorney general who won’t fight to keep a key part of Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban, it’s worth asking the question: Is the Bluegrass State bluer than we all thought?…

Taken together, progressives are confident these signs point to a potential political shift on the horizon.

“From social issues like marriage equality to economic populism issues like increasing Social Security benefits, a populist agenda is popular even in a perceived red state like Kentucky,” said Laura Friedenbach, spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an email to msnbc. “That’s great news for Democrats, and means we should stay on offense instead of worrying about defense.”

THE WASHINGTON POST: Morning Plum: A Dem candidate who would expand O’care and Social Security

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.”

Top Ten Bold Progressive Highlights Of 2013

Check out the Top Ten Highlights of 2013 from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee!

It’s been a great year. Thanks to all of our bold progressive members for being part of it!

PCCC members say: Expand Social Security!

1. “Expand Social Security”

In July, we announced a big strategic shift: Instead of playing defense, we would rally around bills to EXPAND Social Security benefits.

Along with our allies, PCCC members deliveredA�petitionsA�to congressional offices around the nation. We releasedA�pollsA�showing this idea was popular by 2 to 1 in Kentucky and 3 to 1 in Texas!

After the Washington Post op-ed pageA�attackedA�”bold progressives” for leading the way on this issue, Elizabeth Warren made national news that day by endorsing Social Security expansion on the Senate floor (and in an email to PCCC members).

Nobel economist Paul Krugman writes, “a funny thing has happened in the past year or so. Suddenly, wea��re hearing open discussion of the idea that Social Security should be expanded, not cut.a�?

2. PCCC membersA�heartA�Elizabeth Warren

When Elizabeth Warren called for students to get the same low interest rates as big banks, over 1000 professors (who are also PCCC members) endorsed the idea.

When Elizabeth Warren demanded bank regulators crack down on Wall Street crimes, PCCC members pressured the SEC to listen!

When Elizabeth Warren was attacked, PCCC members attacked back!

Warren’s hometown Boston GlobeA�profiledA�us recently. They wrote, “A group called Progressive Change Campaign Committee is waging the most visible of these pro-Warren crusades.”

The NationA�writes, “Warrena��s voice is amplified by groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which have identified her as their ‘north star’ in the fight to renew the Democratic Party. That scares corporate interests.”

BOSTON GLOBE: Progressive wing waves Elizabeth Warren banner

Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor are cofounders of Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The group has been promoting the political profile of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in presidential primary states.

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 Warrena��s name.

SALON: Third Way senior vice president admits majority of think tanka��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 Waya��s money comes overwhelmingly from its board of trustees a�� 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 Waya��s funding that comes from peopleA�in the finance sector a�� rather than institutions a�� Bennett concededA�that a�?the majority of our financial support [comes] from trustees.a�?A�When Green pressed Bennett for a a�?ball parka�? or a a�?percentagea�? guess, Bennett demurred. a�?Ia��m not going to get into that,a�? he said.

TIME MAGAZINE: Democratic Divide on Social Security Spills Into Streets

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 groupa��s chants.A�a�?What is America going to be?a�? they asked. a�?Corporate Greed or Democracy?a�?

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.

a�?Up with America,a�? they jeered at the faA�ade of the building housing the groupa��s headquarters, holding signs that read a�?We are from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party,a�? a signal of support for the freshman senator who supports expanding Social Security.A� a�?Down with Third Way.a�?

Fight back: Corporate-funded think tank Third Way attacks Elizabeth Warren & Social Security

Last week, corporate-funded think tank Third Way attacked Elizabeth Warren in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal — saying her bold economic populism is “dangerous for Democratic Party.” Wrong!

Polls show Warren’s ideas are popular in red, purple, and blue states. That’s why Wall Street fears her.

The PCCC is leading the fight against Third Way’s corporatist strategy and calling them out for refusing to make their Wall Street ties public.

Over 100,000 people have joined our petition calling on Third Way to disclose their Wall Street donors. Click here to sign on.

The petition and actions by PCCC members have already been covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, Wall Street Journal, and more!

The New York Times reported:

In a sign of the lefta��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 a�?disastrousa�? 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 a�?over the populist cliff.a�?

The article a�� written by Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, and Jim Kessler, its senior vice president for policy a�� criticizes progressives like Ms. Warren and Mr. de Blasio for opposing measures to cut a�� Social Security and Medicare.

The liberal groupsa�� campaign has already gotten results, the latest indication that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is ascendant.

Help us continue to put pressure on Wall Street-backed …

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: Support for Expanding Social Security is a Winning Issue

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.

RAW STORY: Elizabeth Warren: Social Security is effective and popular, so let’s expand it

Add Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to the growing chorus of voices calling for the expansion of Social Security benefits.

Groups such as, 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.

WASHINGTON POST: Elizabeth Warren: Don’t cut Social Security. Expand it!

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.

THE NEW REPUBLIC: The Next Big Fight Between Hillary Clinton and Progressives: Social Security

“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, 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.”

CINCINNATI.COM: As others eye cuts, Brown pushes for expansion of Social Security

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.

MOYERS & COMPANY: A Gathering Movement Tries to Expand Social Security Instead of Cutting It

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.”

BUZZFEED: Progressives Dance On The Grand Bargain’s Grave

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.”

Join Sen. Sherrod Brown on National Call to Discuss Growing Momentum for Social Security Expansion

Today at noon Eastern, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will join PCCC members from across the nation on a national conference call to discuss growing momentum behind the push to expand Social Security benefits. Click here to listen to the call online.A�

Yesterday, Sen. Brown announced toA�the PCCC’s national membership base of nearly 1 million membersA�that he will be cosponsoring Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Social Security expansion bill in the Senate and joining forces with the PCCC to go on offense on Social Security.

In a message to PCCC members, A�Sen. Brown said:

“There are plenty of ways to improve the Social Security that nearly 2 million people in Ohio rely on — like lifting the income cap, or calculating benefits in a way that better accounts for the expenses seniors face.A�And neither of those involves cutting benefits.A�That’s why today I’m announcing that I’m teaming up with Tom Harkin and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) to grow a progressive grassroots movement devoted to expanding Social Security.”

Progressives are rallying around two bills in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Harkin and Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) that would expand benefits by $452 for retirees at age 75 and $807 at age 85. By “scrapping the cap” on what the wealthy pay into Social Security, the Harkin-Begich plan will pay for these benefit increases and leave trillions left over to extend Social Security’s solvency beyond its current $2.7 trillion surplus.A�Alan Grayson (D-FL), Mike Honda (D-CA), and over 40 members of Congress have co-sponsored House versions of the Harkin-Begich plan.

Over 30 national groups representing over 20 million Americans are leading the movement to expand Social Security benefits including the PCCC, AFL-CIO, National Organization for Women, Latinos for a Secure Retirement, MoveOn, Democracy For America, and CREDO Action.

Over 635,000 progressives …

TALKING POINTS MEMO: Dem Senators: We’re Doing It Wrong, Let’s Expand 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 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.”

THE PLAIN DEALER: Sherrod Brown lends support to group that wants better Social Security benefits

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.

THE HILL: Brown joins Progressive senators seeking to boost Social Security

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.

WASHINGTON POST’S PLUM LINE: Progressive push to expand Social Security gains steam

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.

THE HILL: Budget conference getting wide range of advice

Around 25 liberal figures – including officials with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO – said in their Wednesday letter that Social Security benefits could be expanded if wealthier workers pay more into the system.

“In upcoming budget negotiations, a Grand Bargain that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits must be off the table,” the liberal officials wrote.

Instead, they said that “Congress should focus on important priorities such as jobs and investment in our nation’s infrastructure.”