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Senator Jack Reed (D. RI) and the Rhode Island delegation were not pleased at all with President Obama's budget proposal:

President Obama isn’t getting any support from Rhode Island’s congressional delegation for his controversial proposal to trim future Social Security benefits.

All four Democrats – usually loyal defenders of the president – issued statements Wednesday criticizing Obama for his proposal to use a different measure of inflation, known as “chained CPI,” to calculate Social Security benefit increases, which would reduce payments over time compared with current law.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed – who is up for re-election next year – called the Obama budget “a mixed bag,” saying: “I remain adamantly opposed to cutting Social Security and using accounting changes to reduce future cost-of-living increases as a means to reduce the deficit.” - WPRI, 4/10/13

Glad to hear Reed on the record stating his opposition to the Chained CPI.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse stated that "the way Social Security currently calculates inflation already “shortchanges” senior citizens and should be changed to increase benefits."  Congressman Jim Langevin (D. RI-2) said “Social Security has kept millions out of poverty without adding to the debt, and I will continue to advocate for alternatives that would put it on sound footing for generations to come.”  Congressman David Cicilline (D. RI-1) said he was disappointed with Obama and said the Social Security could be strengthened “by reforming our tax code, ending subsidies for Big Oil, and making responsible, targeted spending cuts.”

The Chained CPI wasn't the only beef Reed had with Obama's budget:

President Barack Obama's latest request for funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is again meeting with the cold shoulder from legislators representing New England.

Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2014, released Wednesday, requests $2.97 billion for LIHEAP for the year beginning Oct. 1. That's a slight decrease from the $3 billion that Obama requested for the current 2013 fiscal year, and is approximately $500 million below the nearly $3.5 billion that Congress approved for this year.

A spokesman for Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the two Republicans in the New England congressional delegation, said she is working with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., to increase LIHEAP funding when Congress considers annual appropriations for fiscal 2014.
In a letter sent to the president last December, prior to the end of the last Congress, 40 senators requested that funding for LIHEAP in fiscal 2014 budget be set at no less than $4.7 billion, close to the program's high water mark in fiscal year 2010 — when Congress approved $5.1 billion.

Besides Collins, Reed and Shaheen, the signers of the December letter who continue to serve in the current Congress include Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“As supporters of the LIHEAP program we are very cognizant of the challenges that our discretionary budgets faces in FY14,” the senators wrote to Obama. “However, we are deeply concerned that funding for the program has declined 32 percent in recent years…at the same time the number of households eligible for the program continues to exceed those receiving assistance.” - seacoast online, 4/11/13

I thank Senator Reed for not only looking out for Social Security but also fighting to increase funding for LIHEAP.  By the way, Reed's been helping Senators Elizabeth Warren (D. MA) and Sherrod Brown (D. OH) crack down on financial regulators:

Under questioning from Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, regulators came the closest to acknowledging that the reviews, which resulted more than $2 billion in payments by the banks to consultants, were poorly conceived and supervised.

"The OCC and the Fed greatly underestimated the complexity of the task," said Daniel Stipano, a top lawyer at the OCC. He cited the number of financial institutions, consultants and homeowners involved and the difficulty in negotiating state law as among the challenges that reviewers and regulators had to negotiate.

Asked if he thought the structure of the reviews was appropriate in hindsight, Stipano responded "no."

"We would take a different approach" if the process were done again, he said. He declined to say what changes regulators might make in the future. - Huffington Post, 4/11/13

Even though he's safe for re-election, I think Senator Reed still deserves our support for next year's election.  If you'd like to donate to Reed's 2014 re-election campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 01:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Social Security Defenders.

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