Treas. PA 4th CD Chapter, PDA
The fight to protect social security from the bankers and their hyenas in Congress is not over. The two articles below update developments. Sen. Harry Reid has demanded that Social Security be “off the table” in discussions of deficit reduction. However President Obama announced that “talks” have already begun and did not state that Social Security was off the table.
In the meantime newly elected Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut has announced that he is joining the Defending Social Security Caucus in the US Senate. That makes 14 Senators committed to defending Social Security. We need 41.
I can understand why the Wall Street Poodle Toomey is not in the caucus. But where the hell is Sen. Robert Casey? Pennsylvania has one of the biggest retiree populations in the US. Now that our pensions have been stolen by Wall Street banks, most people are surviving on Social Security.
With unemployment at 9% officially and 16% unofficially and many unemployed giving up looking for jobs it looks like a lot of people are going to need Social Security in a few years. Someone 50 to 55 years old may have to beg to get by until he/she turns 66. These crooks want them to wait until they’re 70. Say what?!!!!
I’m going to call Senator Casey and tell him that I want him to join and support the efforts of the Defending Social Security Caucus. Add your voice, pick up the phone, call, and keep calling 866-802-2833.
Sen. Blumenthal joins caucus to protect social security
By Senator Blumenthal’s office
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced today that he will join the Defending Social Security Caucus, a group of Senators dedicated to strengthening Social Security and protecting the program from efforts to reduce or eliminate benefits for millions of seniors across America, including over 600,000 retired workers in Connecticut.
The Caucus will meet with retirees, groups of workers, and those with disabilities to combat attempts to privatize or shrink Social Security and to determine the best course of action to ensure that this program is available for future generations.
“As it becomes increasingly clear that some in Congress propose cutting or eliminating Social Security benefits, I am excited to join the Defending Social Security Caucus to continue my work to make sure that these promises made to Connecticut’s seniors are not broken,” Blumenthal said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen and protect this vital program, ensuring that it is secure for current retirees and future generations of workers.”
Blumenthal has been a longtime advocate for the preservation and strengthening of Social Security. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which plays a critical role in exploring and investigating all issues pertaining to senior Americans.
The members of the Defending Social Security Caucus are: Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).
Obama: Talks on entitlements ‘have already begun’
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Wednesday that difficult debates on how to address the costs of Social Security and Medicare are “starting now,” even though his 2012 budget blueprint lacked any major changes to the large benefit programs.
Illustrating the challenges ahead, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stressed that any cost-cutting of major government benefit programs is possible “as long as you eliminate Social Security” from the discussion.
In an interview with a Cincinnati television station, Obama did not offer any specific modifications but did not take Social Security off the table, as Reid insisted. Obama has been having a number of budget discussions with congressional officials, meeting with Senate Democratic leaders on Wednesday and with House Republican leaders last week. He is scheduled to talk to House Democratic leaders on Thursday.
“We’re starting now. I mean, the conversations have already begun,” Obama told WCPO television, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati.
In another interview with WWBT-TV in Richmond, Va., Obama said, “There may need to be some adjustments on the benefits side for future beneficiaries that aren’t drastic. But (they) would stabilize the system for the long term.”
Reid, who requested Wednesday’s Senate leadership meeting with the president, reiterated his view in the meeting that Social Security is in fine shape for decades and shouldn’t be targeted for cuts, according to two Democratic aides with knowledge of the discussion. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private conversations.
“Social Security has contributed not a single penny to the deficit,” Reid said earlier in the day. “So we can talk about entitlements as long as you eliminate Social Security. Because Social Security is not part of the problem we have in America with the deficit.”
In the meeting, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told the president he thought Social Security should be considered separately from the budget, one aide said. Also attending were Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Senior lawmakers in both parties have talked in general terms of seeking a broad deficit-reduction agreement later this year. Reining in the growing costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are widely cited as essential ingredients in any such compromise. Medicaid is a state-federal program that provides health care to the lower-income. Social Security and Medicare, in particular, are politically sensitive, providing retirement and health benefits for millions of seniors.
House Republicans have said they plan a budget proposal that will take on overhauling Social Security and Medicare, and they have criticized Obama for failing to address the programs in his budget. Democratic lawmakers favor waiting to see what the GOP proposes before moving forward, aides said.
Adjusting Social Security and Medicare have been politically charged topics that both parties have used to attack each other, and any political party that seeks major changes unilaterally leaves itself open to criticism. Obama noted in a news conference this week that in the past, significant changes to Social Security were bipartisan.
In his interview with the Cincinnati television station, Obama carefully avoided showing his preferences for containing program costs.
“The key on both Social Security as well as Medicare is making sure that we do changes that strengthen the system, that make sure that the same amount of money going out is the same amount of money coming in,” he said. “Social Security is a little easier to deal with. We know there are just four or five different things that we could do. The question is, what’s the best mix? Medicare is a little tougher because it involves the health care system as a whole.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that making needed changes in the two massive programs will require compromise.
Carney distinguished between Social Security and Medicare, asserting that Social Security spending does not contribute to short-term deficits. And he reiterated Obama’s assertion that he does not want to “slash” Social Security benefits. He declined to say whether Obama would accept any reduction in benefits for future retirees.
“The president wants to protect current retirees,” Carney said. “He does not want a solution that slashes benefits.”
Reid’s spokesman, Jon Summers, said the Nevada Democrat opposes any cuts for Social Security recipients, as well as any reduction in benefits promised to future retirees. He also rejects an increase in the age at which workers can begin to draw full Social Security retirement, Summers said, adding, “he sees that as a benefit cut.”
Though Obama’s budget did not contain any adjustments to those programs, a presidential deficit-reduction commission floated several late last year. Among them was an increase in the age for full retirement benefits under Social Security, and steps to slow the growth of future benefits.
“We’re waiting for presidential leadership,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Wednesday. “We know and will say again that entitlement reform will not be done except on a bipartisan basis with presidential leadership.”
The Cincinnati interview was one of several Obama conducted Wednesday, as he tried to pitch his budget proposals to audiences in the districts of key Republicans. In addition to the Cincinnati station, which broadcasts in House Speaker John Boehner’s home district, Obama granted interview to stations in the districts of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Carney sidestepped a question about the significance of reaching those markets. “Those are important states, important parts of the country,” he said.
Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington, Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio, and Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee contributed to this report.