Skip to main content

Social Security card with $100 bill
The cadre of Democrats fighting to keep Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid out of the mix in the lame-duck fiscal cliff artifice fight appears to be gaining in strength.
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s re-election and Democratic gains in Congress were supposed to make it easier for the party to strike a deal with Republicans to resolve the year-end fiscal crisis by providing new leverage. But they could also make it harder as empowered Democrats, including some elected on liberal platforms, resist significant changes in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Two staunch liberals, Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, said in a letter to Mr. Obama that he should “reject changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that would cut benefits, shift costs to states, alter the structure of these critical programs, or force vulnerable populations to bear the burden of deficit reduction.”

More than 40 House members, led by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, declare in a resolution that any deal on taxes and spending “should not cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits.”

The greatest indication that they're gaining steam comes from Sen. Dick Durbin, not known as a reliable ally in the fight to prevent benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare, who is signaling in a speech on Tuesday what might be growing consensus among Democrats to leave entitlements off the table in the fiscal cliff curb talks.
“Progressives should be willing to talk about ways to ensure the long-term viability of Medicare and Medicaid but those conversations should not be part of a plan to avert the fiscal cliff,” Durbin says, according to excerpts provided by his office.

The Illinois Democrat reiterates the view of many in his party that Social Security isn’t a driver of the nation’s deficit. And he insisted that current beneficiaries be protected from changes to any program.

For Durbin, one of a handful of Democrats on the Simpson/Bowles Catfood Commission to support the report of the chairs, that's encouraging movement—he's arguing against a grand bargain being shoehorned into this lame-duck debt and deficit fight. Considering Durbin's close relationship with President Obama, this is even more reassuring, at least for the short term. But winning this short-term battle against austerity would be the first step in winning the war.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site