Over 50 House Democrats have now signed on to a letter, first obtained by TPM earlier this month, warning President Obama they’ll oppose any effort on his part, or on the part of his fiscal commission, to cut Social Security benefits or privatize the program.
The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. It was originally cosigned by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Dan Maffei (D-NY), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and CPC co-chair Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). The advocacy groups Social Security Works, P Street Project (the lobbying arm of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) and MoveOn helped organize the effort to add signatures.
They will continue to round up signatures through tomorrow, before the letter goes to the White House.“This is not an issue we should even need to debate as Democrats,” says Grijalva. “The people of this country have had an agreement with the federal government for many years now – you give to your country during your career, and your country gives back during your retirement.”
That agreement has given millions of hardworking people a good standard of living over the years, and there’s no reason we should be gutting it today. We’re going to keep collecting signatures on this letter until the debt commission and everyone else gets the message: the American people earned Social Security, they like Social Security, and they’re not going to stand for it when an unelected commission tries to take it away. Social Security has never contributed a penny to the national debt, and the commission should never have discussed it in the first place. If Congress needs to face the commission and say, “Not on our watch,” then we’re more than happy to do it.
“It’s absurd that we’re even considering cutting the best social safety net program America ever created,” says P Street director Shaunna Thomas. “We are going to keep building momentum for this letter and making clear that any proposal from this commission of millionaires that cuts Social Security is dead on arrival.”