Leading progressive organizations and groups representing retired Americans, Sen. Bernie Sanders and several other members of Congress—including Daily Kos endorsees Mark Takano and Rick Nolan—delivered petitions with signatures of over 2.3 million Americans
in opposition to the chained CPI to the White House Tuesday.
Sanders has vowed to “do everything in my power to block President Obama’s proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients through a chained consumer price index.”
And he's got allies. Joining the senator and the House members at the White House were representatives ofSocial Security Works, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the National Organization for Women, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, the Campaign for America’s Future and MoveOn.org.
They were joined by Damon Silvers, the director of policy for the AFL-CIO, who announced that if the president goes forward with a budget that proposes Social Security cuts he will do so "without cover" from the labor movement.
This is just the beginning of what promises to be a mass revolt from organized groups on the left and from individual seniors as word spreads. The AARP is fully engaged
in informing its members about the policy, and will likely kick into high gear on lobbying when the budget is released and full-on negotiations begin. They've got polling data
to back them up, both a national poll and from 14 key 2014 states.
The proposal is also getting a lukewarm response from Congress, with Republicans rejecting it before it's even official, and Democratic leadership relatively mum or, at best, dismissive. Sen. Sanders, for one, is more than dismissive. He's angry.
"Paul Ryan, in the worst budget ever presented in the history of the United States, did not mention Social Security, so of course [Obama] owns it," Sanders said as he left a rally outside the White House, where he and a handful of congressional Democrats, Social Security advocates, and labor leaders denounced Social Security cuts on Tuesday.
"And I suspect that our Republican friends will make sure the American people understand that he owns it, and make sure the American people understand that any Democrat who supports cuts in Social Security and benefits for disabled vets will also be forced to own that," Sanders said. "From a political point of view it is to my mind just a really dumb tactic. I don't understand it."
Most Democrats, particularly those who weathered the 2010 election in which they were slammed with attacks from Republicans over Medicare cuts, probably realize that, too, and have to resent the hell out of being put into this position by their president. Couple that resentment with the phone calls and emails and potential for irate crowds at town meetings and there probably won't be Democratic support to pass this cut. But we can't take that for granted, and need to keep up the fight. While we're at it, we can work on changing the debate. Send an email to President Obama and congressional leadership telling them to strengthen Social Security instead of cutting it.
Lady Libertine liveblogged the petition delivery here.