Leading progressive senators have spoken out forcefully against the Social Security benefit cuts in the form of the chained CPI included in President Obama's budget.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent this statement to supporters in email (via fenway49):
"[...] I was shocked to hear that the President's newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch. [...]
In short, "chained CPI" is just a fancy way to say "cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans."
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse emailed this statement:
“I made a promise to the people of Rhode Island that I would always oppose cuts to Social Security, and I’m going to keep that promise. Social Security is fully solvent for the next twenty years, has not contributed to our budget deficits, and has no place in this debate over federal spending. The so-called ‘chained CPI’ proposal included in President Obama’s budget is nothing more than a benefit cut disguised behind technical jargon. While I commend the President for including some smart provisions in his budget like investments in infrastructure and the Buffett Rule for tax fairness, I cannot support a proposal that would force seniors to pay for deficits Social Security had no part in creating.”
Sen. Tom Harkin also emailed supporters with a statement (via poopdogcomedy
"News broke on Friday that President Obama's budget proposal will include cuts to Social Security via a mechanism called "chained CPI" -- a move I strongly oppose. Call it whatever you want—it's still a cut to those who need help the most. We can't let it happen.
While there are large portions of the President's budget that I strongly support, cutting Social Security is a bridge too far. It's an unnecessary attack on a critical program that, by law, is unable to add to the deficit."
Sen. Bernie Sanders has been leading on this fight
“I am terribly disappointed and will do everything in my power to block President Obama’s proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients through a chained consumer price index. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I also am especially concerned about the impact this change would have on disabled veterans and their survivors."
the adopted amendment to the Senate budget to reject chained CPI. He was joined in sponsoring the amendment by Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Plenty of senators were opposed to the inclusion of chained CPI in a sequester agreement last year, and you can see their statements below the fold.
Back in December, Sen. Jeff Merkley rejected the idea.
“We had an election, and the voters sent a message to Congress to focus on jobs and fairness—not cutting benefits for people who have worked all their lives and are now making ends meet on fixed incomes. The formula we use to adjust cost-of-living changes for seniors needs to reflect the real costs they face, not the budgetary fantasies of Washington.”
Plenty of congresspeople, like Merkley, were dead set against the proposal
during the sequester:
“A terrible idea,” said Rep. and Sen.-elect Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). [...]
Several Senate Democrats also hammered Obama’s chained CPI proposal Tuesday, with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) saying the provision would be “a problem for Democrats”; Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) warning that he’ll “fight hard” to keep Social Security out of the fiscal-cliff package; and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) saying the White House move “doesn’t warm my heart.”
“I don’t care if they spread it over a whole bunch of years. The whole understanding has been that we wouldn’t do Social Security,” Rockefeller said. “That was for later.”
Those senators need to join Warren and Harkin and Sanders and Whitehouse, and speak up now that the proposal is official.