House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has a strong message for President Barack Obama: House Democrats will not support cuts in benefits to Social Security or Medicare in talks to strike a deal on the nation's debt limit. In addressing her opposition to including major changes to entitlements, she said:
"We do not support cuts in benefits for Social Security and Medicare. Any discussion of Medicare or Social Security should be on its own table. I have said that before. You want to take a look at Social Security? Then look at it on its own table. But do not consider Social Security a piggy bank for giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country.
We are not going to balance the budget on the backs of America’s seniors, women and people with disabilities."
Watch her statements below:
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Pelosi's reaction comes after the White House has signaled that it is open to including both Social Security and Medicare in discussions to reach a conclusion to the partisan debt ceiling debate. Other Democrats, as well, are joining against the president's inclusion of these elements. The New York Times has more:
As word spread that Mr. Obama was considering large savings from the use of a different measure of inflation to reduce the annual cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits, Democrats joined with lobbyists for older Americans to reject the idea...
...Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said Thursday: “Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be on the table. Social Security is not the cause of the deficit, and beneficiaries should not be made to shoulder the burden of deficit reduction.
Watch Whitehouse address these issues on the Senate floor, below:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/z2i4yIGPNZ8?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
As President Obama moves to include Medicare and Social Security spending in the discussion, there will likely be increasing angst coming from his own party. The Washington Post calls the move a "major shift" and says that it:
"...could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending."
(h/t CNS News)