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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 18, 2013

 
Zombie Grand Bargain

by digby

They're still at it:

At least a dozen Republican senators are regularly meeting with President Obama’s top aides in an attempt to plot a way forward on the looming fiscal challenges facing leaders this fall, senators involved in the meetings tell National Journal.

The meetings, which began after Obama hosted GOP senators for dinner earlier this year, are the first sign that Democrats and Republicans are in talks to strike a deal that would reduce the deficit and reform entitlements and taxes.

“Everybody's trying to assess whether we can accomplish something that would be big,” said Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who has attended the meetings. “Big is reforming entitlements and it’s impossible to see a path where you get additional revenue without tax reform being part of it.”

This fall, the country will hit its debt limit and be unable to pay its bills unless Congress authorizes additional borrowing. Republicans plan to use the debate over raising the debt limit to force Democrats to cut spending—a negotiation Obama has said he won’t engage in. But these meetings demonstrate that the president is in fact engaging Republicans in a broader discussion about debt and spending.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough runs point and has included Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell in the discussions. The Republicans in the group include Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Hoeven of North Dakota, and Burr, said John McCain of Arizona, who also sits in...

An administration official said White House aides have made clear to Republicans that the president’s offer from December—including $600 billion in new tax revenue for $400 billion in Medicare and other health care cuts—still stands.

Perhaps we need to take another look at the President's December offer to understand what this means. He is starting the negotions from this point, which means they are holding out for more:
On the spending side of the ledger, Obama offered $800 billion in cuts, plus $130 billion in savings from adopting a new, less generous mechanism for adjusting Social Security benefits for inflation, the so-called "chained consumer price index" (CPI). To soften the blow to liberal Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has warned against any roll-back of benefits, the White House proposed unspecified "tweaks" that will protect "the poorest social security recipients," the source said. Obama gets another $290 billion in interest payment savings.

The president's proposed savings include $400 billion in health outlays, $200 billion in mandatory spending in other areas, and $200 billion in discretionary cuts — including $100 from the Pentagon.

They did decide not to increase the medicare eligibility age as they had offered earlier.

Revenues, who knows? They already got the expiration of the Bush tax cuts over 400k done and the Republicans think they've gone far enough. I'm sure the president will be happy to use that as his big achievement in raising taxes on the rich. Certainly Democrats everywhere see it as a big win for him even though he could have accomplished it by doing absolutely nothing.


I put this up yesterday, but I'm going to do it again today so that people will take this seriously. The way to stop this is to get enough Democrats in the House to join with the Tea Partiers so they cannot get a majority. It's got to be done.

Social Security Works 
   
  Digby,

The Chained CPI—the Social Security benefit cut proposal that would mean thousands of dollars less for everyone—is still alive in the House. This week, House Republicans announced that they were including it in their “menu” of demands in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
But Representatives Alan Grayson (D, FL-9) and Mark Takano (D, CA-41) are recruiting members of Congress to a letter stating: “We will 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.”

Already, 44 members of Congress have signed the Grayson-Takano letter and 6 more have released public statements. Click here to see if your representative has pledged no cuts!
House Republican demands to tie Social Security cost of living increases to the debt ceiling are outrageous. Since Social Security is paid for by the payroll tax, it has NEVER contributed a penny to our nation’s debt.

Click here to ask your Representative in Congress to make the strongest possible statement against Social Security cuts by signing the Grayson-Takano Letter today.

We’re working with the Other 98% to track members who have already signed the letter, and have noted whether or not they’ve supported earlier measures along similar lines. The members need to hear from their constituents: We will not stand for any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and we will not stand with any member of Congress who votes for them.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when calling your representative about the Grayson-Takano Letter:
  1. Determine if your member of Congress has signed a previous letter opposing cuts, such as the 2013 Schakowsky-Ellison letter to keep Social Security out of budget talks, or has progressive credentials like membership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. You should bring that up when you ask them to sign the Grayson-Takano Letter. Ask them to stand up for Social Security now as they have in the past, and challenge them if they claim to have changed their views.
  2. Be polite but firm; feel free to follow our script below
  3. If a member of Congress has signed—or agrees to sign—the Grayson-Takano letter, but is not yet on the Cicilline Resolution, please ask them to sign it as well. The Cicilline Resolution opposes the use of Chained CPI, and we would like to build up the number of members on both.
  4. If you don’t get a chance to speak to a person on the phone, please leave a detailed message or follow up by e-mail. They will be tracking all messages from their constituents.
Here is a sample call script:

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm calling from [TOWN, STATE].
As a constituent, I want [MEMBER NAME] to publicly oppose any deficit reduction or debt ceiling deal that cuts Social Security benefits. That is why I am asking [MEMBER NAME] to sign onto the Grayson-Takano letter to vote against any deal that cuts benefits.
Can you please tell Rep. [MEMBER NAME] that I want [HIM/HER] to publicly stand against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits?
[Answer]
Thank you. And can you please tell your press secretary that I called and asked Rep. [MEMBER NAME] to make a public statement against cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits?
[Answer]
Close the call: Thank you for your time!

Please, find your member in our table, and call them today. The Grayson-Takano letter is one of the strongest statements against cuts to Social Security.



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