Which members of Congress oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare

This is an update to our previous post about the Grand Bargain and how to stop it.

A couple of items:

1. The “whip count” page — the page that shows which senators and House members support No Cuts — has been posted at the Huffington Post as well. You may want to bookmark that page. This issue will certainly heat up as Sandy dies down and the election frenzy passes.

2. We now know, thanks to the Des Moines Register, that Obama plans to push the Grand Bargain into the next six months — assuming he remounts the throne, of course. Here’s Obama as quoted in the newspaper article:

Elderly Medicare Social Security seniors

Woman via Shutterstock

President Barack Obama voiced confidence that if re-elected he would secure within six months a deficit-reduction deal with Republicans equivalent to the “grand bargain” he failed to achieve last year. …

“It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant,” he said of the negotiations ahead. “But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs,” Obama said.

Notice the six-month’s timeline. The Bush–Obama Tax Cuts (remember, 2010 made them his as well) expire automatically at the end of this year. The “sequester” of funds also kicks in after the end of this year. This means across-the-board mandated budget cuts, indiscriminately applied. (For good information on what “the sequester” means, read the Yahoo News article at the link. Just ignore the scary initial paragraphs and go for the meat.)

But before you get scared of the sequester, remember, it can be reversed in January (or June) and the reversal can be made retroactive. (See? The Congress that can tie its own hands, can untie them at will. Voilà, no sequester; just kidding.)

This new timeline gives room for much more play. Daddy Koch (sorry, David Koch, who controls all AFP-funded Republican office-holders) has given the green light for “tax increases” — his words — which means Obama has his fig leaf for cutting the safety net. He can now point to a so-called win for his eager destruction of the Dem brand. (Why “eager”? Watch this clip of Obama in 2006 talking to a roomful of fresh-faced Rubinites about not being chained to the solutions of the 1930s. Again, that’s him in 2006.)

Get ready for the battle of 2013

So gear up, folks, and gird up as well. First fight, the lame duck itself, the last session of the old Congress before new members are sworn in. Sen. Sanders is leading this fight to make sure the bad deal doesn’t pass. Your help is needed:

  1. Sign Sen. Sanders petition at www.signon.org/nocuts.
  2. Call your senators and representatives. The phone numbers are here and here. Be polite but firm, seriously firm.
  3. Report your results to [email protected]socialsecurityworks.org.
  4. Watch the whipcount page for updates.

Then prepare to fight through the next six months. The good news is that we’re not only right, we have huge majorities of people behind us. In addition, if the Democrats do attempt this — driven by god-knows-what combination of Rubinesque wickedness and complicit Dem leadership (did someone mention Open Rebellion?) — they will likely write their party’s epitaph with it (scroll down to the Krugman comment). Obama will never again stand for election — his next job is to take million-dollar thank-you money for speeches and to tour the world in an endless victory lap — but most Democrats now in office will try to return.

My advice — tell them now, early and often, that cuts to the safety net are a bridge too far. Call them — again, the phone numbers are here and here.

Try this. Tell them you’re cancelling your vote for them — right now, this time, next week — if they don’t agree to the No Cuts plan. (It’s a secret, but I’ll tell you. What you actually do in the voting booth is your business, not theirs. If the threat is credible, you don’t have to pull the trigger if you don’t want to.)

Soften them up with a scare. Then call them again after November and keep it up.

Stay optimistic on this one

I’ll have more on this phase as it develops. You’re not alone; many good people are working to win this as well. Cuts to the safety net, tax cuts for the already-too-rich — the Grand Bargain really is a bridge too far. Stay optimistic; this one is winnable. Ultimately, only the hyper-rich (Our Betters) — and their eager enablers — are not on our side. We just have to learn to use our leverage. Time to learn that is now.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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