Liberal Democrats to Obama: No cuts to entitlements
July 7th, 2011
12:53 PM ET
11 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. maine liberal

    If Obama keeps acting like a republican he can join the GOP 2012 presidential campaigns. he might just win at this point.

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

    Tax millionaires (above $250k in democrat math) 100% and we still couldn't sustain the debt the entitlements are fostering on us. Liberals dems are stuck on stupid and are completely wedded to their mistakes.

    July 7, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Louisiana Man

    Hopefully Obama finds his spine, adheres to the call of the American voting electorate and stand his ground for the struggling middle class and the disenfranchised of our country.

    Why should we pay the heftiest burdens of taxes when those most deserving stalwarts of society, received the most generous of tax cuts and produced zero in return for their largress.

    They got the uranium and we got the shaft thanks to their most appreciative cronies in congress-those amazing public servants of the people our congressional representatives.

    July 7, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Enough is Enough

    So the same idiots who created a new entitlement program (Obamacare) don't want to touch the other 3 entitlements that are bankrupting this country.

    July 7, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. kyle

    Why should millionaires and billionaires get tax breaks for sending jobs overseas.

    July 7, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Bill from GA

    I'm glad some dems are willing to stand up for Americans. A weak president does great harm to our government.

    July 7, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Thank God I am a Democrat

    I think everyone on the left should relax. I like Obama's approach here. He has publicly put everything on the table the Repubs want and has backed them into a corner. If they do not come back wth the tax increase for the wealthy then in the eyes of most (the exception being the folks on the right that stay loyal to party regardless of facts) the Repubs will be viewed as not willing to work this out.

    The goal is for one of two things to happen here. Either the Repubs will take the heat for the fallout because they wouldn't comprimise or they will finally say the words most of us have waited forever to hear which is that they will agree to raise taxes on the wealthy and with no strings attached. If they do agree to it you will see Obama pull back some of what is on the table now. We just need to put them into the corner as much as possible on this and the only way to do it is to publicly go all in on our side. I have full faith in the Presidents tactic here.

    July 7, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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