Tell Democrats: Don't let Republican hostage-takers put Medicare and Social Security benefits back on the chopping block.
Congress is headed for two major showdowns over federal spending and Republican hostage-takers are once again trying to force weak-kneed Democrats in Congress to agree to cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.
If Congress does not pass a resolution to continue to fund the government by the end of the month, we’ll see a government shutdown. And if the debt ceiling isn’t raised in a few short weeks, we'll default on our debts.
In a well-functioning democracy, neither of these crisis moments would be an opportunity for Republicans to cram benefit cuts down the throats of the American people.
But with Republican extremists setting the agenda in Congress and President Obama publicly on board with benefits cuts in the past, we need to take this threat seriously. And it will be up to Democrats in the House and the Senate to protect these vital programs.
Tell Democrats: Don’t let Republicans put Medicare and Social Security benefits on the chopping block.
Don't let the headlines fool you. While Republicans are making high-profile attempts to defund Obamacare, we know neither the president nor congressional Democrats will go along with that.
Far more dangerous are signs that Republicans will take aim at Medicare and Social Security benefits – something the president has signaled support for.
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are extremely vital, and extremely successful, parts of our social safety net.
But Republicans are cynically using the deficit as an excuse to undermine and destroy these programs.
And unfortunately, President Obama has played into their hands in this respect by proposing budgets in the past that have included cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits.
As Bloomberg reports:
“Since the president himself has proposed some of these things, it would seem logical that he would not turn that down,” John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said in an interview.
The approach is aimed at gaining enough Democratic support in the Senate to force Obama, who said he won’t negotiate on the debt limit, to accept [cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits].1
Tell Democrats: Don't let Republicans put Medicare and Social Security benefits on the chopping block.
Let's be clear, there are any number of crises that demand urgent action by Congress -- the foreclosure crisis, the unemployment crisis, the climate crisis to name just a few -- but reducing the deficit isn't one of them.
America is the richest country in the history of the world.
The deficit hysteria that has become part of the conventional wisdom in DC is really just a way for wealthy elites and corporate interests (and their allies on Capitol Hill) to justify trying to decimate programs that provide a baseline amount of retirement security for almost all Americans.
The stakes are simply too high to allow Democrats to cave to Republican hostage-takers. We need to make sure Democrats in the House and Senate know that we are counting on them to draw a line and fight to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.
1"Republicans Debt-Ceiling Strategy Relies on Obama Budget," Bloomberg, Sept. 24, 2013.