Warren, Sanders Ready to Face Down Obama over Social Security, Medicare Cuts
As budget negotiations restart, Obama, GOP still pushing austerity
Both images: Reuters
Though the ‘deficit scold dream‘ of a so-called ‘Grand Bargain’ may be diminished on Capitol Hill, a mini-version—circulating among some as the ‘Small Deal’ version of a 2014 austerity budget—is still on the table as congressional budget negotiations are set to resume Wednesday.
With austerity proposals again taking the lead in the latest budget battle, however, at least two progressive senators, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are ready to fight such a deal.
“Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes.” –Sen. Bernie Sanders
“Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes,” Senator Sanders, who is on the Senate and House budget conference committee, wrote in an op-ed in the LA Times Monday.
Pushing for progressive tax reform as opposed to further cuts to key social programs and earned benefits, Sanders added, “We cannot impose more austerity on people who are already suffering. When 95% of all new income between 2009 and 2012 went to the top 1%, and while tens of millions of working Americans saw a decline in their income, we cannot cut programs that working families depend on.”
Among the austerity proposals put forth in Obama’s 2014 budget and still considered a bargaining chip in the new round of talks, significant worry among progressives centers around a plan that would reduce the annual cost of living calculations for Social Security payments, known as the ‘Chained CPI’, which would effectively reduce benefits for seniors.
“Chained CPI is just a fancy way to say ‘Cut benefits for seniors, permanently disabled, and orphans,’” warned Sen. Warren in a recent interview. “Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle-class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled, inch by inch.”
According to the Boston Globe’s analysis, “Warren’s voice on the issue is key to liberals, and could put pressure on other Democrats to avoid compromising on the issue.”
“Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle-class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled, inch by inch.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren
“Her six-minute floor speech on the role of government during the shutdown,” the paper notes, “drew about 1 million views on YouTube, even though she had no official role in leading the Democrats’ case.”