Liberal Democrats to Obama: No cuts to entitlements
July 7th, 2011
12:53 PM ET
7 years ago

Liberal Democrats to Obama: No cuts to entitlements

Washington (CNN) - Even before the debt talks got underway at the White House Thursday, liberal House Democrats drew a line in the sand, saying there was no way they could support a deal that includes cuts to entitlement programs. They planned to send President Obama a letter telling him to take entitlements off the table in the talks.

"At a time when each millionaire is getting $138,700 dollar tax break a year from the government, there is no reason our seniors and the neediest amongst us need to struggle to pay their hospital bills," said Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chair Judy Chu, D-California. "The debt must be addressed, but it should be done in a way that is fair to all. We should not balance the back of this budget on our nation's seniors."

The caucus blamed Republicans for using the debt talks as a way to make cuts to entitlement programs.

"Republicans have used this opportunity in a very cynical and political way, to not just talk about deficit reduction or not just talk about debt ceiling, but to really go after programs that they have historically, historically opposed," said co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona. "And we feel that it is important for us to put up our defense for those programs that the American people have historically, historically depended on and supported."

Members of the caucus told reporters they are willing to discuss entitlement reforms, such as raising the payroll tax cap, but are unwilling to support a deal if it restructures Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid through cuts to benefits.

"We're not trying to be the skunk at the garden party in these negotiations," said Grijalva. "We just feel that a perspective, and a very wide perspective of this country, has not been part of the dialogue, and has not been part of the discussions and the deals that are being talked about."

Grijalva warned of the political consequences to both parties if such program cuts were made.

"If a deal involves the cuts to Medicare, Social Security, a dismantling of Medicaid, that the consequences, all negative, would befall both parties," he said. "This isn't something that the American people are going to take very lightly."

Filed under: Congress • Democrats • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Liberal Elite = Anyone with an education...

    Oh come on people! No more lines in the sand, no more "off the table". Progressives: you're going to have to take some cuts – suck it up. Conservatives: you're going to have to pay taxes – suck it up.
    Now stop acting like petulant children and do your stinkin' jobs!!!!!

    July 7, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS

    It's times like this when I miss Anthony Weiner. This no backbone democrats have got to grow a pair and say enough is enough. This is when democrats should turn into the party of NO NO NO and HELL NO NO NO. If the fascists republican regime insists on breaking the middle class, then default on the debt and let all hell and anarhy breakout across this country and the entire world. There's sacrifice going on and it's not being shared.

    July 7, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Ron

    Geeese!!! $140K a year!!! Maybe, one of those millionaire cougars can hire me to be her "boy toy"?? I ain't proud...

    July 7, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I say offer them up, and make the Republicans show their love to the American people. Remind the American people that it has been conservative policies that created the need for entitlement programs in the first place.

    Banks could not be trusted to keep our savings safe and secure, so the Uncle Sam set a program for us after The Great Depression called Social Security. Health insurers did not want to cover seniors so Uncle Same stepped in again and set up Medicare/Medicaid.

    July 7, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Rickster

    All democrats are certifiably insane but some are more certifiable than others.

    July 7, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. Vigla

    Darn straight, NO CUTS to MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY. Tweaking them is fine, but if conservatives are going to say no to tax increases of ANY kind, then they should not get anything from the other side. Plain and simple. This is not a dictatorship. We have to agree to compromise. That's what representative gov't is all about.

    July 7, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. R

    Clearly we need to introduce a third party. Both Democrats and Republicans in congress have dug their heels in and won't budge on anything -effectively acting like a spoiled 4 year old when they don't get their way. If they continue acting this way, there will be far less people voting for either party in the future.

    July 7, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. John

    Dems – the party of NO!! Of course they are not, just like the Repubs are not. It is just a stupid political statement.

    July 7, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. gt

    thats why they got the crap beat out them last election...everything must be on the table... work for the all the people not just a few special interest groups...

    July 7, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. S.positive

    This country is SOOOO divided that it cannot even agree on one thing to save it... PITY

    July 7, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Medicare is a poorly designed program that is in desperate need of reform. It's not just the $80 billion of Medicare fraud that we pay for every year, it is the whole basis of payment and service that encourages inefficiency and poor quality. We can do better for seniors and the money spent to run the program. Republican Representative Paul Ryan shows how in his reform plan. With Federal Government debt heading towards $20 trillion, now is the time to begin improving the results.

    July 7, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    Guys, give it up as it is not going to happen, President Obama will cave to the GOP. I just want him to do it sooner rather than later. Hopefully, he will then state he is not running for re-election and step aside.

    Entitlements such as SS, Medicare and Medicaid will be cut and it is the beginning of the GOP totally dismantling them.

    So, all you old folks better double up with family, and if you have no family, may God go with you, when the Medicaid cut throws you out of the nursing home.

    All you young folks better start saving very austerely, because when the GOP has it's way and does away with the minimum wage and you are working for whatever wages "the Master" wants to pay, you will need every dime during the times of unemployment and sick time(you see paid sick leave was achieved by the "evil" unions) and you will be at the mercy of the benevolence or lack thereof, of your Master. No, food stamps so maybe you can pick your fave resturant while employed and then check out their dumpster when you are not. Health care, just "die quietly", 'cuz you see, all hospitals will be for profit and none of this ER mooching will be allowed. You will get a $100 voucher to help, maybe.

    One bright spot, as the old, young and unemployed die off, housing will be really cheap, probably back to the days of squatters rights. At least you better hope, since once we default and S&P gives the U.S. a junk bond rating of a D, the mortgage rates will probably top out at 20% as the upper 2% will want to make a "modest" profit on their "investment".

    You see, the GOP only partially decimated the finances of this country in 2008 when they brought us to the edge of the abyss, now all you folks that voted for them have given them carte blanche to push us over the edge, and it will not be pretty when "we the people", yeah, those same "people" the GOP SAYS it supports will have to file bankruptcy as a country.

    The GOP only represents "people" that were conceived and born, in a corporate board room.

    Oh I did forget another bright spot, the GOP will have caused "America to fail", just as they said they would.

    The GOP rules in 2012, literally.

    July 7, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Progressive Jedi

    Any cuts to the poor, needy, or otherwise = Anti Christian

    Any continuance of tax breaks to the wealthy, or corporation = fascism.

    Nuf said.

    July 7, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. tstranko

    IF you dont cut medicare and social security then there wont be any for us young people when we go to retire... Time for senior citizens to buck up and take at least a small cut because most of us working people are paying into something we wont see anything in return for because people are living so much longer nowadays

    July 7, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Ferret out the B.S.

    As a person coming into those years where I'll be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security I feel that there still must be a compromise made to settle the debt issues and move forward. Our legislators can't be immovable in their principals during these negotiations. I don't want to see benefits reduced but I also don't want to bankrupt this country. The cost of living, especially for those of us that are no longer earning a living that can grow, must be reasonable and within our income range to enable us to live comfortably. The cost of goods is way to high and most of it is unnecessary due to the current business models of corporate America. Sure business should be able to profit but not at the expense of destroying the consumer. That is an unsustainable model because once the consumer base is gone the business will fail. Using that argument the only possible solution is for both parties to come together and agree on a long term solution that supports American citizens and American business. We need both to be successful and enduring.

    July 7, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Wes B.

    Liberals AND conservatives BOTH need to be open to putting everything on the table. Digging in your heels doesn't move us forward!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Anthony

    If liberals had shown up in the 2010 election, Republicans would not have been in a position to force through an extension of the Bush tax cuts, which get us CLOSER to the debt limit. Just do this mental exercise, people. If you take a pay cut, and still have the same expenses (actually this is not true in a recession because the government has to pay out more in unemployment benefits), wouldn't you hit your credit card limit faster?

    July 7, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are the party of Aparthied. Read what Aparthied is and you will agree.

    July 7, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Oprah's Mooseknuckle

    "they are willing to discuss entitlement reforms, such as raising the payroll tax cap" – Wow, how benevolent of them. Reform means taking more in taxes from a different pocket. Who votes for these maggots?

    July 7, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Citizen

    They've seen nothing yet. Wait until they cut entitlement.

    July 7, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Irma in North Carolina

    I hope the american people can see what the republicans are like. All they want is tax breaks for the rich. They dont care that the middle class of people are hurting. But their will be a bunch of brainless people out there that will vote for them. America is turning out to be a sad place.

    July 7, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    "I used to get up half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of freezing cold poison, work 29 hours at the mill AND pay the mill owner for the privilige, and when we got home, our father would murder us in our sleep and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah! And you try to tell that to the young people of today, and they will never believe you."

    – John Cleese. " Four Yorkshireman" Skit.

    Those words are more believeable than the GOP's promises of negotiating in good faith, and for the benefit of the country.

    July 7, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. scieng

    The liberals already backed, and got, $500 billion in cuts to Medicaid last year, and put in place Obamacare to dismantle both Medicare and Medicaid. The libs took billions out of Social Security and cut benefits over the past 20 years. I guess they have to stand on something, even if it isn't the facts.

    July 7, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. petercha

    American People to Obama:
    Cut or eliminate spending on entitlements, welfare, NPR, PBS, the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), the EPA, and all other liberal-type programs.

    July 7, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. michaelam

    President Obama:
    I have supported you since day one and I will continue to support you. However, if you make ONE concession that directly alters Social Security and/or Medicare negatively, you lost my vote in the upcoming election. You may raise the tax on these programs, change them so wealthier individuals do not receive the same benefit structure as us “small” people, BUT, you may NOT alter the age or benefit structure that would negatively affect the middle-class and poor in any way, shape, or form. If you choose to throw us under a bus, I will reverse my “Am I in?” status, stop donating and campaigning for your re-election, AND you will NOT receive my vote because YOU do NOT deserve it if you elect to mess with our Social Security and/or Medicare!

    Quit making deals with hostage takers! Use your Constitutional rights afforded to you and ALL of us under the Fourteenth Amendment!

    July 7, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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