House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was not informed in advance of President Obama’s plans to include Social Security reform in the scope of the debt-ceiling talks, a House Democratic aide said Thursday. Reports that Obama is looking for a big debt deal that would include Social Security reforms provoked anger among liberals in the House and Senate, who said they were irritated to learn of the news from the press. – Pelosi not informed in advance of Obama’s broader reform plans
On “Morning Joe” today, Steve Rattner’s insulting condescension toward Rep. Keith Ellison dripped with phrases suggesting he come back to reality, the real world, you know, where the grown ups are discussing tough economic issues that idiots like you don’t understand.
Mr. Ellison was having none of it. His solution? Change the debate.
The smirk on Rattner’s smug little mug disappeared. (Here’s a piece I did in 2006 on Rattner.)
What a concept. Instead of playing into the Republican narrative on deficit reduction, spending cuts and austerity, offer up a grand vision directly responding to what’s on the minds of Americans. From The Hill:
“First, any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be taken off the table. The individuals depending on these three programs deserve well-conceived improvements, not deep, ideologically driven cuts with harmful consequences.”
As a second condition, the lawmakers added, “revenue increases must be a meaningful part of any agreement.”
“Tax breaks benefiting the very richest Americans should be eliminated as part of this deal,” the lawmakers wrote. “The middle class has experienced enough pain during the last three years, Republicans are willing to inflict even more. We will not join them.”
Grijalva said there’s room for “restructuring” in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But if the final debt-ceiling package cuts benefits under those programs, he warned, “then I couldn’t support it.”
AARP delivered a similar message on Thursday, issuing a statement warning that the powerful lobbying group “will not accept any cuts to Social Security as part of a deal to pay the nation’s bills.”
[...] “We do have more leverage than people anticipate,” Grijalva said. “Without overwhelming support from our caucus, I think it’s going to be a hard deal to pass.”
Rattner finally just gave up and asked Ellison if he’d support a deal with Social Security cuts that wasn’t balanced with taxes, revenue increases, or stimulus Ellison preferred, never mind that he also suggested a more rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq. Rep. Ellison gave a one-word reply: no.
But again, there’s still no evidence that Tea Party Republicans will accept Obama’s “deal of the century.”