How Many Democrats In Congress Will Vote To Keep Obama And Boehner From A Grand Austerity Bargain?
Even Bernie Sanders couches his criticism of Obama's willingness to sell out working families and seniors to Republican predators in terms that almost never acknowledge any fumbling by Obama. It's always, "Let's support the president's pledge to protect working families" and stuff like that. That approach is going to get harder in coming weeks as it becomes more and more transparent that Obama starts bargaining away pieces of the social safety net to Republicans whose only motivations are to wreck his presidency and make themselves heroes to the one percent.
Last week a Member of Congress called and asked if Blue America would be interested in hosting a chat about Obama going down the wrong path. "Of course," I responded. "Isn't that what Digby and DWT do everyday anyway? This Obama push behind the chained CPI is going to cause a real break between the corporate Democrats (and the blind Obamabots) and genuine progressives. Sanders actually already uttered the words, that Obama is "dead wrong" to go along with the GOP on this assault against seniors who can least afford it. Kate Nocera did the reporting at Politico:
The talk of any deal with congressional Republicans-- and for now, it’s just that: talk-- has liberals worried the White House will give in to changes to safety net programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Republicans say such changes are an essential part of any big deal. And Obama previously has been open to a number of reforms that irk the liberals, such as raising the retirement age of Medicare, means-testing and adopting an inflation calculation, known as chained CPI, for Social Security.
Inevitably, if there is an agreement on a big deal, Democrats will have to get on board for it to pass. But the 2012 election brought in new Democratic members of the House and Senate who are more liberal and more outspoken, strengthening the left wing of the caucus.
One hundred and seven of the 200 House Democrats signed a letter to Obama threatening to vote “against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits-- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”
Instead, they want the White House to “rely on economic growth and more fair revenue-raising policies to solve our fiscal problems,” like getting rid of subsidies for big businesses and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
“I only know one thing: I’m against cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House. “I don’t really care who is pushing it. It doesn’t matter who says it’s a good idea. It’s a bad idea.”
Ellison said the early resistance from House Democrats to cutting benefits was an indication “they won’t be able to do it.”
• Infrastructure- substantially increases infrastructure investment to the level the American Society of Civil Engineers says is necessary to close our infrastructure needs gap
• Education- funds school modernizations and rehiring laid-off teachers
• Aid to States- closes the recession-caused gap in state budgets for two years, allowing the rehiring of cops, firefighters, and other public employees
• Making Work Pay- boosts consumer demand by reinstating an expanded tax credit for three years
• Emergency Unemployment Compensation- allows beneficiaries to claim up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits in high-unemployment states for two years
• Public Works Job Programs and Aid to Distressed Communities- includes job programs such as a Park Improvement Corps, Student Jobs Corps, and Child Care Corps
Fair Individual Tax
• Immediately allows Bush tax cuts to expire for families earning over $250K
• Higher tax rates for millionaires and billionaires (from 45% to 49%)
• Taxes income from investments the same as income from wages
Fair Corporate Tax
• Ends corporate tax bias toward moving jobs and profits overseas
• Enacts a financial transactions tax
• Reduces deductions for corporate jets, meals, and entertainment
• Returns Pentagon spending to 2006 levels, focusing on the needs of modern security
• No benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security
• Reduces health care costs by adopting a public option, negotiating drug prices, and reducing fraud
• Prices carbon pollution with a rebate to hold low income households harmless
• Eliminates corporate tax subsidies for oil, gas, and coal companies
|Real progressives are signing the Grayson-Takano letter|
...I asked Sanders if he would filibuster any grand bargain that cuts entitlement benefits. “It’s more than just the filibuster,” he said. “That’s a one day tactic. This is about rallying the American people and winning.” He predicted liberals in the Senate (Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren come to mind) would likely band together to adopt a range of tactics to block such a grand bargain. “Filibustering may be part of it,” he said.
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