As we told you just after 5 PM this afternoon, we've found the Loudest and Proudest member of the Conscience Caucus. It ain't even close.
She is Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R) of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
As you may remember, Emerson was one of the first or first two members of the Conscience Caucus. And in the constituent letter she's now sending out on Social Security she leaves little doubt where she stands.
Emerson begins by telling constituents she "oppose[s] any cut in Social Security benefits for Americans who have, in good faith, paid into the system."
"Not only is Social Security nowhere near exhaustion," she continues, "the projections of bankruptcy do not reflect the many ways in which we can strengthen the system for the future without using aggressive and risky reforms. If Congress would seriously address Medicare reform, balance the budget, and make pension reform a real priority, then the solvency of Social Security would be assured indefinitely."
Later she writes, "I cannot support any plan to allow workers to place any portion of their Social Security taxes in risky investments, especially those that depend upon the stock market to appreciate in value."
And finally, "It remains my opinion that Social Security reform is not necessary at all if Congress would seriously address Medicare reform, balance the budget, erase the trade deficit, and make pension reform a real priority."
You can see Representative Emerson's letter yourself in the TPM Document Collection.
Late Update: We can now report that Rep. Emerson has been chosen as the Dean of the House Conscience Caucus.