The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Liz Rose (202) 587-1638

Progressive Groups Warn Democrats: Super Committee Must Strongly Defend Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Groups Have Delivered 100,000 Signatures Asking Democrats to Stand Firm


Three activist groups have joined together urging Senate Majority Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi to ensure that the Democratic Members on the new "Super Committee" hold firm against cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. And they stressed that any deal must require corporations and millionaires and billionaires to carry a bigger share of financing essential government investments and financing deficit reduction.

MoveOn, Campaign for America's Future, and Progressives United are concerned that the recently enacted debt ceiling deal, which mandated establishment of a 12 Member deficit cutting Super Committee, could allow one Democrat to join with a united group of Republicans on the committee to support a budget plan that could cut vital benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients with no significant change to the contribution of the wealthy or corporations to financing government. Such a 7-5 deal would be guaranteed a "fast track" vote in Congress, with no opportunities for hearings or amendments.

Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America's Future warned, "All of our groups want to make sure that none of the lawmakers nominated by Reid or Pelosi subscribes to the idea of a "grand bargain" that imposes pain on the elderly, the poor and the middle class, while actually cutting taxes for the rich and the corporations." Campaign for America's Future is especially troubled by a Kerry appearance on the August 7 edition of Meet the Press where he called for "a mix of reductions and reforms in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid." Hickey, the organizer of a progressive commission on deficits and jobs that called for more health reform, not cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, noted that "those two programs do a better job of controlling costs than private insurance plans, and Social Security contributes nothing to the deficit and thus should not be the focus of a deficit-focused "Super Committee."

"MoveOn's 5 million members have put in countless hours and donated millions of dollars to elect Democrats so that they would protect, not gut, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," said Daniel Mintz, Senior Campaign Director of "The appointees to the super committee must stand up to Republican hostage-taking so any deal makes millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and safeguards programs working folks rely on."

Cole Leystra, Executive Director from Progressives United declared, "Democratic appointees must protect crucial safety net programs, especially Social Security and Medicare benefits, and insist that wealthy individual and corporate interests bear a fair share of the burden of any debt reduction plan."

Yesterday representatives of the three groups delivered petitions with more than 100,000 signatures to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi, calling on them to appoint reliable liberal champions to the Super Committee to ensure that America's social safety net is protected and any deal makes millionaires and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

The MoveOn petition, circulated nationally, was signed by 50,000 people, urged Reid and Pelosi "to only appoint Democrats to the Super Congress who will stand strong against cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and who will end tax breaks and close loopholes to make sure the rich and corporations finally pay their share."

The Progressives United petition, distributed in an email signed by the group's founder, former Senator Russ Feingold, was signed by 35,000 Americans. The signers demanded that Democratic Leaders, "appoint true progressive champions to the Super Committee." Noting that, "There is no doubt Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will appoint members who will draw the line on no new revenues, and instead zero their aim on big cuts to Medicare and Social Security, using the deficit to change our fundamental values, the petition demanded, "Democratic appointees must oppose all cuts to Social Security and Medicare and demand that corporations and the wealthy finally sacrifice like everyone else. No ifs, ands, or buts."

The Campaign for America's Future petition, signed by 15,000 people from around the country, called on Democratic leaders "to appoint to the Super Committee the best middle class champions who represent the views of the American majority...Democrats have offered too many unilateral compromises. They have surrendered too often. It is time to stand up. Some Democrats have already capitulated to the conservative deficit agenda. But there are plenty of Democrats in both the House and Senate who will fight for the middle class and the poor. It is time to name representatives who will fight for the views most Americans support."

The Campaign for America's Future is the strategy center for the progressive movement. Our goal is to forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity that our country was meant to be.