(Updated) House Dems who promise to vote No to benefit cuts like Chained CPI

Update: I’m going to keep this post updated with new Grayson-Takano letter signers as they come in. As I write, there are these new names — Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands), David Cicilline (RI-01), Elijah Cummings (MD-07), Marcia Fudge (OH-11). Also Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01). Also Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18).

Later today, at 12:30 pm EST, 2 million “no benefit cuts” signatures will delivered to the White House. Men and women like you will tell Barack Obama, “No to your budget, sir; No to benefit cuts in any form, including Chained CPI.” This will occur one day before Obama officially releases his first-ever Benefit Cuts Budget.

You can watch the live feed at this site — tune in then for the action. (I personally can’t wait to see who takes delivery. Awkward.)

Ahead of that event, I thought I’d update you on the doings in the halls of power. We have Democratic heroes working those halls for us. These are the latest names.

Who signed the Grayson-Takano letter — “We will vote No to benefit cuts”

The following men and women have made a pledge to you, the American people, that they are reliable votes against benefit cuts in any bill. These are your heroes, and here are their numbers. Please call them, thank them, and contribute to their campaigns. Some, like Mike Honda, could use your help.

Signers of the Grayson-Takano “We will vote No” letter

Last name First Dist. Party Phone
Grayson Alan FL-09 D 202-225-9889
Takano Mark CA-41 D 202-225-2305
Beatty Joyce OH-03 D 202-225-4324
Brown Corrine FL-05 D 202-225-0123
Cartwright Matt PA-17 D 202-225-5546
Castor Kathy FL-14 D 202-225-3376
Christensen Donna VI D-Del 202-225-1790
Cicilline David RI-01 D 202-225-4911
Clay William (Lacy) MO-1 D 202-225-2406
Cleaver Emanuel MO-5 D 202-225-4535
Conyers John MI-13 D 202-225-5126
Cummings Elijah MD-07 D 202-225-4741
DeFazio Peter OR-04 D 202-225-6416
Ellison Keith MN-5 D 202-225-4755
Faleomavaega Eni AS D-Del 202-225-8577
Fudge Marcia OH-11 D 202-225-7032
Green Gene TX-29 D 202-225-1688
Grijalva Raúl AZ-3 D 202-225-2435
Gutierrez Luis IL-04 D 202-225-8203
Hastings Alcee FL-20 D 202-225-1313
Honda Michael CA-17 D 202-225-2631
Jackson Lee Sheila TX-18 D 202-225-3816
Kirkpatrick Ann AZ-01 D 202-225-3361
Lee Barbara CA-13 D 202-225-2661
Lynch Stephen MA-8 D 202-225-8273
Maloney Carolyn NY-12 D 202-225-7944
Markey Edward MA-5 D 202-225-2836
McGovern Jim MA-2 D 202-225-6101
Nadler Jerrold NY-10 D 202-225-5635
Napolitano Graciela CA-32 D 202-225-5256
Nolan Rick MN-8 D 202-225-6211
Serrano José NY-15 D 202-225-4361
Velázquez Nydia NY-07 D 202-225-2361
Waters Maxine CA-43 D 202-225-2201

In addition, I have seen public statements from two House Democrats promising to vote No, though they have not signed the letter:

Social Security

Social Security via Shutterstock

Chellie Pingree (ME-01) said in a press release: “Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are vital to the economic security of Maine people and I will vote against cuts to benefits in these programs” including chained CPI.

Ann Kuster (NH-02) said in a press release: ” … That is why I will not vote to cut benefits to these vital social programs.”

I expect both to keep their word, but in two different senses of “expect.” I really do expect that Pingree will keep her word. She’s been a reliable progressive in most of her career.

As to Ann Kuster, she’s to be commended for the unequivocal statement, but she’s been off the reservation far too frequently. I think she needs to be reminded that she has set expectations, and she should expect that voters are watching. The number to call is 202-225-5206. The message: “Thanks. Truly thanks. Please follow through.”

Blue America has five candidates who will never vote for benefit cuts

The good people at Blue America vet candidates for Congress, and then raise money for their election. This is not DCCC money, Beltway money, Wall Street money — it’s money from you, the 99%. The following candidates currently running for House seats have told Blue America they will never vote for benefit cuts. In effect, they have signed the Grayson-Takano pledge. These candidates are:

Andrew Hounshell (OH-08) — Note: Running for John Boehner’s seat
Daylin Leach (PA-13)
Nicholas Ruiz III (FL-07)
Kenneth Sanders (TX-06)
Carl Sciortino (MA-05)

You can read each of their supporting statements here. You can support each of them by clicking on the link at the name and saying thanks with your donations. Thanks.

How do we win a benefit cuts vote in the House?

There is only one way to win, and it’s a two-part effort:

▪ Stiffen the spines of Dems who “oppose cuts” but haven’t promised to vote against them.
▪ Stiffen the spines of “no new taxes” Republicans who either hate John Boehner or have other exploitable vulnerabilities.

We need to do both. Republicans who can be encouraged to vote their no-tax principles (or their vulnerabilities) can be found here. Democrats who have signed the CPC “strong statement” letter, but won’t commit voting No, should be gotten off the fence. This is a career-defining (or career-ending) issue for many of them.

I’ll have updated versions of both of these lists later; the Boehner-haters haven’t yet been added to the Republican list, and they’re a tasty whippable bunch. For now, these are your Democratic heroes. Please find a way to thank and support them.


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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28 Responses to “(Updated) House Dems who promise to vote No to benefit cuts like Chained CPI”

  1. rmthunter says:

    My rep, Jan Schakowsky, for one. My district is so blue it’s indigo, and she’s solidly progressive. I’ll be stopping by her office today or tomorrow to ask why she hasn’t signed the letter, since she’s on record opposing chained CPI and another other benefit cuts.

  2. rmthunter says:

    Strange that Jan Schakowsky hasn’t signed the letter — she’s on record many times opposing any cuts to Social Security — and even specifically called out chained CPI as unacceptable as recently as February.

    At any rate, I’ll be popping into local her office, which just up the street, to remind her.

  3. Mocas Dad says:

    Suggestion re: headline – change “like” to “such as”. As is it could be interpreted that the dems in question like (i.e., favor) chained CPI.

  4. GaiusPublius says:

    Thanks, Ford. It’s not us that’s blackmailing them; it’s the neolib leaders, and it almost always works. Queue’d up for tomorrow morning.


  5. Mocas Dad says:

    You have more faith in pingree than I do. Why she won’t sign grayson-takano is beyond me. My fear is she’s leaving room for herself to vote with Obama and defend it with a “it’s not perfect but look at all the good things in his budget” excuse. That’s been her track record, most recently with all the giant giveaways to the rich in the fiscal cliff deal.

  6. karmanot says:

    And you, typically are so literal you completely lack a sense of humor and irony. Go back to staring at your navel smarmy swami.

  7. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    Are you Brad Paisley?

  8. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    Native Americans who were run off their own lands and sent to nightmarish hellholes called reservations; later the were sent from nightmarish hellholes to hellish death pits. Leaving the hellish death pits meant meeting the army with Gatling guns and being mowed down and massacred. Your homework: books.google.com/books?id=VIMTAAAAYAAJ

  9. Ford Prefect says:

    This certainly promises to be a most clarifying moment. I’m sure a lot of progs are hoping the GOP kills this thing so they don’t have to expose themselves as frauds. But if the GOP turns out to be sufficiently sly, they can let it pass knowing full well the Dems will go into self-destruct mode. After all, the “tax increases” are so small as to be unnoticeable by the rich, even though they’ll scream bloody murder anyway.

    If you’re speaking with prog-orgs, I think many might like to know how they intend to achieve enough power to actually prove a threat to incumbents–basically, power has to be projected on a local level to be effective, IMO. As yet, it doesn’t seem to be more than a vague threat which, if it fails, will only diminish prog power further. The Party orgs will do everything possible to defoliate any grassroots disruption.

    This I look forward to, for even though I doubt its possible, it’s still worth exploring:

    I’m working on a post now about “how to blackmail progressives in office” that considers some inside baseball aspects of these bad votes and how they happen.

    The Dems were happy to lose the House in 2010. But a mass exodus from the Party might change their minds about that, since that would greatly undermine their very legitimacy as an institution.

  10. BeccaM says:

    Promise, as in like, for real ‘promise’? Or promise in the way they promised there would be drug importation and a public insurance option in the PPACA, no matter what? Or the promise that the Bush tax cuts would be ended? Or the promise that the Bush war crimes would be investigated and prosecuted? The promise that the banksters would be prosecuted and too-big-to-fail would end? Or the promises from all those Dems throughout the last election cycle — including the guy at the top of the friggin’ ticket — who assured us that Social Security and Medicare would not be cut, no matter what?

    I trust their promises about as far as I can throw the Washington Monument.

    I truly believe the Dems need a wake-up call before they’ll ever give a flying rat’s ass about their base.

  11. karmanot says:

    “there are some real Democrats left.” Where, who?

  12. GaiusPublius says:

    Ask him to make his vote obvious to all by signing the Grayson-Takano letter.


  13. GaiusPublius says:

    That’s the right question. Listen to the speeches here:

    Progressive activists are threatening primaries. Will they carry through? I suspect some will. I hope that everyone who is on our side forces progressive orgs to put words to deeds when the time comes. Progressive orgs that cave are no better than Dems that cave.

    If Obama gets a bill that gets a vote (not at all certain he will), and if it passes, the real reaction will be at the polls in 2014. It could make 2010 look like a cakewalk, both for Dems and Rs in non-gerrymandered districts. This is deeply unpopular.

    I’m working on a post now about “how to blackmail progressives in office” that considers some inside baseball aspects of these bad votes and how they happen. Stay tuned.

    HTH. I don’t have a total answer. The first bar for O is to get a bill to the floor. That’s been where he’s failed, and that’s the line I’m trying to hold by asking you guys n gals to whip Republicans as well as Dems. If Rs won’t support tax hikes, we win, ’cause O needs tax hikes to sell the bill to Dems. (List of whippable Rs is here; only missing names are the Boehner-haters.)

    Mes centimes,


  14. BeccaM says:

    Because our side insisted we had to accept the lesser evil, that there was not and never will be any other choice.

  15. BeccaM says:

    Its origins are in Native American history, with the connotation that a NA man would go ‘off the reservation’ to indulge in drink and debauchery and borderline illegal activities, until white authorities returned him to what used to be essentially vast prison districts.

    Some now consider the term racist due to what it originally meant. Personally, I don’t know, because the phrase has been used in so many other contexts that most people don’t even know what ‘reservation’ is being referred to.

    Knowing it might be found offensive to some, and living in a state where I live in close proximity to quite a few Native American communities, I avoid using it.

  16. karmanot says:

    Catholics call it ‘thoughts, words and deeds’ Its a penal sin.

  17. karmanot says:

    But Nicho, they down vote because they can’t whack off with the other. Some of us attract professional momma’s basement downers.

  18. karmanot says:

    No, It means you pissed off the maitre de and get seated next to the kitchen door.

  19. karmanot says:

    Start a call to Impeach the bastard

  20. Drew2u says:

    Why does it seem like we are always defending the right thing to do from either this President or this Democratic Party?
    Why do we have to “make” the President do the right thing? (Rhetorical. I know everyone’s answer to that. :P)

  21. Mighty says:

    Democrats need to be primaried if they vote for the cuts.

  22. Ford Prefect says:

    I have a question, GP:

    What are you hearing as to what various groups are going to do if Obama’s preferences are affirmed by congress? Because all indications are some version of his cuts are going to pass. They might fail due to GOP intransigence–in which case they would be the “heroes”(gross as that is)–or perhaps the Dems might show a tiny bit of humanity and do the right thing.

    The list of signers to the letter are still less than half the CPC, which means the other half will do what they’re told. Chances are some of the signers will too, if past performance is any indication.

    So what’s everyone going to do when Obama gets what he wants?

  23. jomicur says:

    Yes, there are some real Democrats left. Let’s support them or they’ll go the way of dinosaurs, dodos and big-time vaudeville. I’m disappointed that my rep, Mike Doyle, isn’t on the list; he’s usually very good. I’ll be calling his office about this (for the second time) shortly. When I called previously, his aides assured me he’d vote against any benefit cuts, but I need to hear it again.

  24. lynchie says:

    But that means changing to not dominate hand to do the whack thing isn’t that called cheating in some cultures.

  25. nicho says:

    Why would someone downvote a question? That’s just stupid. But I suppose it appeals to the jerks who stop by to downvote with one hand and whack off with the other.

  26. rodnchance says:

    And in the Senate perhaps the Democrats will find some courage and filibuster this obscenity, would that not be a bit of delicious irony.

  27. nicho says:

    Which race does it offend?

  28. Jonathan R says:

    You do know that the phrase “off the reservation” is racist right?

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