A day before President Obama’s meeting today with congressional leaders about the fiscal cliff, some Senate Democrats held a summit on the Hill to urge Obama to not let the third-rail — entitlements — be touched.
The Strengthen Social Security Campaign, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Alliance for Retired Americans, MoveOn.org, the Service Employees International Union, the AFL-CIO and others helped coordinate the event.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with Social Security Works and MoveOn.org, are gathering petition signatures to “stop dismantling Social Security,” arguing “there are fair and sensible ways to reduce deficits, but having the rich and the powerful beat up on working families and the elderly is not one of them.”
“We are here today to send a very loud and very clear message to the leadership in the House, in the Senate and in the White House: Do not cut Social Security; do not cut Medicare, do not cut Medicaid and do not provide more tax breaks to the top 2 percent who are doing phenomenally well and in many cases have never had it so good,” Sanders said.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said last week’s election “presented the American people with a choice between two very different visions for our economy.”
“When it comes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the American people told us to protect and strengthen these programs, not cut them,” said Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. “In the coming weeks and months as the Senate works to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and reduce the deficit and debt, we will stand firm against any misguided effort to cut these programs that undergird the middle class.”
“Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are pillars of economic fairness and stability for Americans. Although it is important to reduce our deficit, we should not do so on the backs of our nation’s seniors, disabled citizens, and those who are already struggling to stay afloat in this economy. I will fight any efforts to cut benefits under these programs,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
The liberal Dems argue that Social Security, which faces an insolvent future, “has not contributed a dime to the deficit.”
Republicans are insisting that entitlement reform be included in a deficit-reduction compromise.
“2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt through tax reform and entitlement reform,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.