Will the 29 Sanders-letter senators co-sponsor the Begich Social Security bill?

The most recent Social Security bill, proposed by Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, includes such enhancements as full cancellation of the payroll cap — making the Social Security tax a simple flat tax and not a regressive one — and improves the cost-of-living adjustment by indexing it to the items most bought by the elderly. All round, a very good bill.

This bill also goes on offense, putting a stake in the ground that says Social Security benefits should be enhanced, not just kept the same. I hope you can see the negotiating benefit of that.

The 29 senators who signed the Sen. Sanders letter are playing excellent defense — drawing a line that says No Cuts to the safety net and No New Tax Breaks for the rich. (With the Bush–Obama Tax Cuts set to expire in December, renewing them is without doubt a new tax break.)

Can we get the 29 senators to go on offense as well, and co-sponsor the Begich bill? You could ask them.

The list of senators who signed the Sanders letter — these are the good guys, remember — is here and also below, along with phone numbers. If you like, you could call or write them — be sure to say “thank you” — and ask if they’d please co-sponsor the Begich bill as well. Tell them that going on offense will make it easier for them to play effective defense.

And thank you to you as well. This is the next big fight. But it gets easier if we get past December 31 with no action. So stand firm, and ask these senators to continue to do the same.

Here’s that list of Sanders-letter senators, the good guys in this fight. Note that Mark Begich, the author of the Begich bill, is an organizer:

Organizers:
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — (202) 224-5141
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) — (202) 224-2921
Mark Begich (D-AK) — (202) 224-3004
Al Franken (D-MN) — (202) 224-5641

Other signers:
Harry Reid (D-NV) — (202) 224-3542
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — (202) 224-6542
Jack Reed (D-RI) — (202) 224-4642
Sherrod Brown ((D-OH) — (202) 224-2315
Ron Wyden (D-OR) — (202) 224-5244
Patrick Leahy (D-VT) — (202) 224-4242
Ben Cardin (D-MD) — (202) 224-4524
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) — (202) 224-4822
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) — (202) 224-2823
Tom Harkin (D-IA) — (202) 224-3254
Jeff Merkley (D-OR) — (202) 224-3753
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) — (202) 224-3224
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) — (202) 224-4654
Patty Murray (D-WA) — (202) 224-2621
Barbara Boxer (D-CA) — (202) 224-3553
Maria Cantwell (D-WA) — (202) 224-3441
Daniel Akaka (D-HI) — (202) 224-6361
Tim Johnson (D-SD) — (202) 224-5842
John Rockefeller (D-WV) — (202) 224-6472
Daniel Inouye (D-HI) — (202) 224-3934
Tom Udall (D-NM) — (202) 224-6621
Robert Menendez (D-NJ) — (202) 224-4744
Carl Levin (D-MI) — (202) 224-6221
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — (202) 224-4451
Joe Manchin (D-WV) — (202) 224-3954

This is your effective progressive coalition in action — we are that coalition, we the progressive voters and constituencies — urging those Democrats who often (but not always) side with us to join with us — not just us joining with them. We want an offense to go with the good defense these senators are playing. We want the midway line between the two negotiating positions to be No Action — not some flavor of a lesser bad action. We need these senators to help us, as we are helping them.

So do join in — call or write to say Thank You, and then ask for what you want. You have that right, and what we seek will help us all. This is effective progressive action. As I always urge:

“Block to the whistle. Tackle to the ground. Play to the end of the game.”

It’s the only way to win these fights.

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • Kim_Kaufman

    Feinstein is predictably missing.

  • whataboutbob

    There is a great discussion over at Daily Kos on a post by a “Teacher Ken” about Ezra Klein’s latest comments on SS. The social security retirement age and Medicare eligibility age should be lowered!! Many people would stop working, and there will be many new jobs for younger folks.

  • Hippygriff

    Feinstein is notably missing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.whitney2 Mark Whitney

    I will email and call both of my senators today. Not really surprising that they did not sign on to Sen. Sanders Letter considering they are weak-kneed “moderate” Democrats

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Senator Sanders says it like it is — don’t stake out some position that is 90% of what the other side wants and negotiate from there.

    Start from the point where it’s 100% of what your side wants. (Or claimed to want in the last election cycle…)

    In any case, this is also one of those instances where Harry Reid can be challenged to answer, yes or no, will he and his Democratic majority vote to change or abolish the filibuster rules so that a bill like this can get an up or down vote in the Senate? Or is he and his party going to fold yet again and let a 40-vote tyranny stop all meaningful business in the chamber?

  • Melody

    e-mailed my senator today and will contact local office on Monday. Thanks for the information.

  • https://twitter.com/leliorisen leliorisen

    Sen. Begich could teach President Obama a few things on how to begin negotiations. For starters, you start bargaining from a position of strength and play a little offense.

    Good piece, and a very good use of this blog space as a resource tool for progressive activists.

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