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Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Statement to President Obama: Social Security Benefit Cuts Hurt Our Economy

 

 


Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today responding to reports that  President Obama will include chained CPI in his annual budget. 

“Republicans have been trying to dismantle Social Security ever since President Roosevelt proposed it during the Great Depression. We should not try to bargain for their good will with policies that hurt our seniors, especially since they’ve been unwilling to reduce tax loopholes for millionaires and wealthy corporations by so much as a dime.

“One hundred seven Members of the House of Representatives, a majority of the Democratic Caucus, have already stated our vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. Americans all over the country depend on every single dollar they get from Social Security to put food on the table and pay for housing. Using chained CPI will shift more costs onto already struggling American families, seniors, veterans – including our 3.2 million disabled veterans who also depend on the Social Security calculation for their Veterans Affairs benefits – individuals with disabilities, and children on survivors’ benefits.

“This week, a new study from the New America Foundation finds that proposals to cut Social Security benefits could be disastrous for our economy because the recession has led more seniors to rely to Social Security for income. Cutting benefits now, when people are already struggling to make ends meet, will mean unnecessary hardship for millions of people. It is unpopular, unwise and unworkable.”

The text of the Feb. 15 Schakowsky-Conyers- Grijalva-Ellison-Edwards letter opposing chained CPI is below.

 

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February 15, 2013

 

Dear President Obama:

 

We want to thank you for standing strong in the American Taxpayer Relief Act to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from benefit cuts that would jeopardize the well-being of millions of Americans.

 

We write to affirm our vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits in any final bill to replace sequestration.  Earned Social Security and Medicare benefits provide the financial and health protections necessary to keep individuals and families out of poverty.  Medicaid is not only a lifeline for low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and families, it is the primary source of long-term care services and supports for 3.6 million individuals.  We cannot overstate their importance for our constituents and our country.

 

That is why we remain deeply opposed to proposals to reduce Social Security benefits through use of the chained CPI to calculate cost-of-living adjustments.  We remain committed to making the changes that will extend solvency for 75 years, but Social Security has not contributed to our current fiscal problems and it should not be on the bargaining table. 

 

Similarly, we oppose proposals to increase Medicare cost-sharing requirements or to raise the age of eligibility.  Half of all Medicare recipients live on less than $22,000 a year – yet they spend, on average, three times as much of those limited incomes on health care as other Americans.  Raising their already heavy cost-sharing burden or increasing the age of eligibility doesn’t lower health care costs, it just shifts them to those who can least afford more financial burdens – seniors, people with disabilities and their families. 

 

A commitment to keeping the middle-class strong and reducing poverty requires a commitment to keeping Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid strong.  We urge you to reject any proposals to cut benefits, and we look forward to working with you to enact approaches that instead rely on economic growth and more fair revenue-raising policies to solve our fiscal problems.

 

Sincerely,

 

Schakowsky, Jan

Ellison, Keith

Grijalva, Raúl M.

Conyers, John

Edwards, Donna

Barber, Ron

Bass, Karen

Bera, Ami

Bonamici, Suzanne

Brady, Robert

Braley, Bruce L.

Brown, Corrine

Brownley, Julia

Bustos, Cheri

Butterfield, G.K.

Capps, Lois

Cardenas, Tony

Cartwright, Matthew

Castor, Kathy

Christensen, Donna M.,

Chu, Judy

Cicilline, David

Clarke, Yvette D.

Clay Jr., William "Lacy"

Cleaver, Emanuel

Cohen, Steve

Conyers Jr., John

Courtney, Joe

Cummings, Elijah

Davis, Danny K.

DeFazio, Peter

DeLauro, Rosa L.

Deutch, Ted

Duckworth, Tammy

Edwards, Donna F.

Ellison, Keith

Eshoo, Anna G.

Faleomavaega, Eni F. H.

Farr, Sam

Fattah, Chaka

Frankel, Lois

Fudge, Marcia L.

Garamendi, John

Grayson, Alan

Green, Al

Green, Gene

Grijalva, Raul

Gutierrez, Luis

Hahn, Janice

Hastings, Alcee L.

Hinojosa, Rubén

Holt, Rush

Honda, Mike

Huffman, Jared

Jackson Lee, Sheila

Jeffries, Hakeem

Johnson, Eddie Bernice

Johnson, Henry C. "Hank" Jr.

Kaptur, Marcy

Kildee, Daniel

Kirkpatrick, Ann

Langevin, Jim

Lee, Barbara

Lewis, John

Loebsack, David

Lofgren, Zoe

Lowenthal, Alan

Lujan Grisham, Michelle

Lynch, Stephen F.

Maloney, Carolyn

Markey, Ed

Matsui, Doris O.

McDermott, Jim

McGovern, James

Meng, Grace

Michaud, Michael

Moore, Gwen

Nadler, Jerrold

Negrete McLeod, Gloria

Nolan, Rick

Norton, Eleanor Holmes

Pastor, Ed

Payne Jr., Donald

Pingree, Chellie

Pocan, Mark

Rangel, Charles B.

Roybal-Allard, Lucille

Rush, Bobby L.

Ryan, Tim

Sablan, Gregorio

Sanchez, Linda

Scott, Robert C.

Serrano, José E.

Shea-Porter, Carol

Sinema, Kyrsten

Sires, Albio

Slaughter, Louise

Speier, Jackie

Takano, Mark

Thompson, Bennie G.

Tierney, John

Titus, Dina

Tonko, Paul D.

Vargas, Juan

Veasey, Marc

Velázquez, Nydia M.

Waters, Maxine

Watt, Mel

Waxman, Henry

Welch, Peter

Wilson, Frederica

 

cc:  Speaker John Boehner

House Minority Leader Pelosi

Senate Majority Leader Reid

Senate Minority Leader McConnell

 

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