Our federal government is being held hostage by a band of Republican extremists who want to radically reshape our country. But while Republicans have made high-profile attempts to defund President Obama’s signature healthcare law, that’s not their only target.
Fifty House Republicans, including Rep. Mark Amodei, just sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to make cuts to Social Security benefits before the debt ceiling is raised and our government is reopened. That’s why I started my own campaign on CREDOMobilize.com, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Rep. Amodei and the other 49 House Republicans who signed the letter, says the following:
Stop irresponsibly and recklessly demanding cuts to Social Security benefits as a precondition for ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. End the hostage-taking and leave Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits alone!
We can’t let them get away with it. Click here to tell Rep. Amodei that our Social Security system is not a ransom.
The letter Rep. Amodei sent to Speaker Boehner reads like a wish list straight out of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s playbook:
- raising the retirement age
- slashing annual cost-of-living adjustments through a new formula known as “chained CPI”
- means testing for Social Security recipients
- asking the wealthy to pay even less into the Social Security trust fund
Cutting benefits for those most in need just to give the very wealthiest Americans another tax break is outrageous enough. Demanding them as a precondition for funding the government and ensuring we don’t default on our national debt obligations is both reckless and irresponsible.
Our Social Security system needs to be expanded, not cut. Cost-of-living adjustments already struggle to keep up with the rising costs that seniors face every day. If these Republican extremists get their way, everyone who receives Social Security now — or who will receive it in the future — will see less and less in return for what they paid in over their lives.
I hope you’ll speak out today and tell these extremist Republicans to stop their hostage-taking.
— BY JUDD LEGUM ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
Since the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2011, they have repeatedly attempted to use the prospect of a government shutdown or a debt default as leverage. A shutdown would furlough close to a million federal workers and cut off essential services for millions more Americans, while a default on U.S. debt, even according to Speaker John Boehner, could devastate the global economy. While the recent debate has focused on Obamacare, that is just the latest in a series of demands made by Republicans. The following is a list of things that have been, at various times, demanded by Republicans under threat of a government shutdown or default:
1. A balanced budget amendment [Link]
2. Approving Keystone XL [Link]
3. Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood [Link]
4. Medicare privatization [Link]
5. Tax reform, as outlined by Paul Ryan [Link]
6. The REINS Act, which would require Congress to approve significant federal regulations [Link]
7. Means-testing Social Security [Link]
8. Defunding Obamacare [Link]
9. Allowing employers to eliminate insurance coverage for birth control [Link]
10. An expansion of off-shore drilling [Link]
11. Preserving all the Bush tax cuts [Link]
12. “Trillions” in budget cuts [Link]
13. Slashing funding for food stamps [Link]
14. Protecting mountaintop strip mining [Link]
15. Stripping the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases [Link]
16. Loosening regulation on coal ash [Link]
17. Delaying Obamacare implementation by one year [Link]
18. Repealing a tax on medical devices [Link]
19. Eliminating Social Service Block Grants [Link]
20. Expanding drilling on federal lands [Link]
21. Restricting the child tax credit [Link]
In just over 2 years, Republicans have been successful in extracting around $1.7 trillion in budget cuts or 72% of the total deficit reduction over that period. Under President Bush the government never shut down and the debt limit was raised five times with bipartisan support and without conditions.
This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.