Seven days left: Is super committee ball now in Democrats' court?
Following a GOP proposal on the deficit-cutting 'super committee' to raise tax revenues, Republicans say it's the Democrats' turn to show they're serious by making cuts in entitlement spending.
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“Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress and too many Democrats have been discussing harmful cuts to Social Security as part of an overall scheme to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children, and working families. That is wrong, it is unconscionable, and it must not happen,” he added.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Who's who on the US deficit super committee
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Pro-entitlement activists say they, too, aren’t sure where Democrats on the super committee may be headed on entitlement reform. “It’s very difficult to know what’s going on,” says Webster Phillips, senior legislative representative for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSS). “Is all this talk about entitlement reform a smokescreen or a change in someone’s position?
“We’re here to strengthen their resolve in staying the course on some of these important programs,” he adds. “We want to make sure that everyone knows how unpopular cutting Social Security is.” The NCPSS is releasing a poll this week showing that 72 percent of Americans oppose proposed changes to the formula for determining the cost of living increases, a proposal said to be at issue in super committee deliberations.
In a floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio called on the super committee to raise the cost-of-living adjustment for seniors on Social Security by creating a new formula that takes into account their higher health costs. Such a change could mean an additional $887 for seniors on Social Security, he said.
“Conservatives who don’t much like Social Security ... will say we can’t afford this," he said. "[But] Social Security is not part of this budget deficit.”
In another move to turn up the heat on super committee Democrats, MoveOn.org Political Action launched a 30-second television ad on morning cable talk shows for the next week targeting Democrats on the super committee. “Don’t be stupid, be Democrats,” the ad says. “And Democrats don’t cut Medicare.”
Meanwhile, Republicans face new pushback in their own ranks over concessions on taxes. On Thursday, 72 House Republicans called on the super committee in a letter not to raise taxes.
“Raising taxes will only further damage the economy, discourage private-sector investment, and hurt Americans struggling to make ends meet,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) of North Carolina, who sponsored the letter drive, said in a statement. “We’re not here to be the tax collector for the welfare state,” he added, in an interview.
In a campaign update on Nov. 16, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reported that Democrats have had a 10-point turnaround from where they were in November 2010 and are now leading the generic ballot on whether voters prefer Democrats or Republicans to control the Congress – in part, because of Democratic firmness on support of Social Security and Medicare.
“Voters are connecting with Democrats’ message about reigniting the American Dream,” he said. “They know we are fighting for them, not tax loopholes. They know that we will protect Medicare and Social Security, and that we are working to help small businesses create good paying jobs.”
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