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I swore any time a diary that makes the rec list about cuts to Social Security and Medicare are mentioned as part of a Grand Bargain I would release a diary about Senator Mark Begich (D. AK) and Congressman Ted Deutch's (D. FL-21) plan to protect and strengthen Social Security known as the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013:
I wrote a diary about this last Tuesday and Friday that contained a petition from Congressman Deutch's office urging his supporters to get congress and the Senate to co-sponsor and vote for the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act of 2013.  Here's the diary with the petition:

To the diarists who are on the rec list today, thank you for posting my diary in your diaries.  I've noticed my Tips & Recs go up on that diary from 23 recs to now 59 recs.  Here's a quick overview of the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013:

Increases Benefits for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. Currently, Social Security benefits are adjusted by the Consumer Price Index for workers. However, costs and spending patterns for seniors do not mirror those of the workforce. That is why Sen. Begich’s bill calls for adjusting cost-of-living increases with a Consumer Price Index specifically for the elderly which was created to more accurately measure the costs of goods and services seniors actually buy.

Lifts the Cap on High-Income Contributions. Current law sets a cap based on income at $113,700 for paying into Social Security. If an individual’s wages hit that total for the year, they no longer pay into the program. Sen. Begich’s bill lifts the cap and asks higher income earners to pay Social Security on all their earnings in order to increase the program’s revenue stream and extend the overall solvency of the program.

Extends Social Security for approximately 75 years through modest revenue increases gradually implemented over the course of seven years. - Alaska Native News, 11/14/12

I am making the argument that Democrats, especially red state Democrats who are up for re-election in 2014, should not agree to such cuts because it's political suicide.  They campaigned on being the party that preserves and protects these programs.  Now I understand the argument for wanting to make adjustments to these programs for both the baby boomers and future generations but a Chained CPI (which for the record is a Republican proposal, NOT President Obama's idea) is not the way to go.  I'm not going to engage in the argument over why Obama has proposed these cuts.  I don't care what Firedoglake has to say about Obama and the sequester cuts, I don't care what Naked Capitalism or any other progressive blog outside of Kos has to say about why these cuts are being proposed, all I care about right now is stopping these cuts and the solutions.  When the community gets so fixated on why these cuts keep getting proposed it turns into a deeply skeptical, "we're all doomed!" narrative that does not inspire people to take action.  And because this type of conversation over "The Democrats are going to sell us out!" or "we live in a plutocracy so there's no hope!" is repeated way, way, way too much in the comments and just paints a cynical, defeatist narrative that generalizes all the Democrats, including the good ones like Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall (yes it does, don't deny this), I decided to take action.

I have called Begich's office and showed his team my diaries about his plan and with the petition and they are very impressed and grateful.  Because of that, they are responding to me quickly because they know I want to help and Begich's team is serious about this bill.  Begich has discussed this bill with Senators Tom Harkin (D. IA) and Bernie Sanders (I. VT) and it's sounding like they are going to get on board and work with Begich on this bill.  Begich's office is currently working on getting me statements from Harkin and Sanders' offices about this bill because I told them, "If you can get me statements from Sanders and Harkin endorsing this bill, this will encourage the Daily Kos community to take action."  I called up my home state Senator, Bob Casey (D. PA) and representative, Congressman Mike Doyle (D. PA-14) and asked both of them to cosponsor Bill S. 308 (the Senate version ) and H.R. 649 (the House version).  I asked Casey's staff where he stood on these cuts, his staffer said "He's for balancing the budget but I don't think he would agree to cuts to Social Security and Medicare."  I politely said, "Well please tell him that cuts to these programs would be political suicide to the party, especially since they are trying to increase their majorities in the midterms.  The Republicans will attack them for these cuts and in a midterm election, it's best to win over the majority of Senior citizens, like my grandmothers who depend on Social Security."  I think I got through to his staff member, who was very polite.  I made the same argument to Rep. Doyle, who is a great man, and I can tell his staff member really took what I said seriously.  I then decided to take it a step further and call Senators that I support like Tammy Baldwin (D. WI), Sherrod Brown (D. OH), Jeff Merkley (D. OR) and Al Franken (D. MN) to be co-sponsors.  I told them the same thing over the phone and they were very polite to me.  That's the argument we activists should be using, "Win The Senior Vote in 2014, Support The Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013".  When you remind Senators and Congressmen the pay off of not agreeing to these cuts, it gets through to them.  Espcially Democrats who hail from states with high senior voting populations, like Senator Max Baucus (D. MT):

“Social Security benefits are financed only through payroll taxes and the Trust Fund,” Baucus (left) said during a hearing held by his committee entitled “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Social Security.” Social Security, he continued, “is not responsible for the deficits we face in the general fund today. Therefore, I believe Social Security should not be part of our efforts to reduce those deficits.” - Advisor One, 5/10/11
Baucus might be a lot of things but he is right about this and he knows if he agrees to these cuts, he's a goner.  Lets not forget that his colleague, Senator Jon Tester (D. MT) hit his opponent Denny Rehberg (R. MT) for wanting to privatize Social Security back in 1996 in the 2012 general election.  So please call you Senators, especially that ones that are up for re-election in 2014.  I would focus heavily on these Senators:

Tim Johnson (D. SD): 202-224-5842

Kay Hagan (D. NC): 202-224-6342

Mark Udall (D. CO): 202-224-5941

Mark Pryor (D. AR): 202-224-2353

Dick Durbin (D. IL): 202-224-2152

Mark Warner (D. VA): 202-224-2023

Mary Landrieu (D. LA): 202-224-5824

Tom Udall (D. NM): 202-224-6621

Chris Coons (D. DE): 202-224-5042

Max Baucus (D. MT): 202-224-2651

Jack Reed (D. RI): 202-224-4642

Al Franken (D. MN): 202-224-5641

Jeanne Shaheen (D. NH): 202-224-2841

Carl Levin (D. MI): 202-224-6221

The Senate bill number for Begich's plan is S. 308.  House bill version is H.R. 649.  I'd say get your grandparents or parents who depend on Social Security and Medicare to call them too.  Remind them they need the Senior Citizen vote if they want to win in 2014.

Now I think we need to take this one step further.  We need the Daily Kos to endorse the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013.  Every time I come to the Daily Kos they have petitions for gun control, net neutrality, filibuster reform and the Violence Against Women Act.  I think the Kos should be promoting Deutch's petition on this blog.  i think every time anyone goes to the Daily Kos, the first thing to pop up should be this petition:

If you think the Daily Kos should endorse the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013, please message any and every of the staff members and tell them you want this blog to endorse this great plan.  It beats getting into a nasty Obama pie fight which i for one have gotten sick and tired of.  Also, please call Senator Begich and Rep. Deutch and thank them for pushing this bold plan to protest the safety net:

Begich: 202-224-3004
Deutch: 202-225-3001

THe Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act of 2013 has been endorsed by the AARP and the Strengthen Social Security coalition.  You can get involved with the coalition here:

You can also sign CREDO Action's letter thanking the 24 House Democrats who are leading the call to stop cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 12:13 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, North Carolina BLUE, Virginia Kos, South Dakota Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, Social Security Defenders, Massachusetts Kosmopolitans, Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Take New Hampshire Forward!, and Native American Netroots.


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