President Obama wants a deal that will cut Social Security benefits by changing how the cost of living increase is measured. The only things that can stop Social Security from being cut are Congressional Republicans rejecting the overall deal or Congressional Democrats rejecting it. In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made it clear that neither she nor her caucus will stop a deal that cuts Social Security benefits. From NBC:
Pelosi also praised President Barack Obama’s leadership with his latest proposal, that would include a middle-class tax hike and some cuts to Social Security. She remains confident that she could sell this plan to the Democratic caucus, and although not all members will agree, the majority will “stick with the president.”
She stressed that instead of worrying about what happens if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, many should be asking themselves what happens if we don’t go over it.
Given how unpopular a potential deal will be in the Republican caucus, there is a good chance Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will need at least some Democratic votes to pass any deal. This give Pelosi a fair amount of leverage but she is publicly saying she won’t use this leverage to defend Social Security. In fact, it definitely sounds like Pelosi would actually try to whip her caucus to vote en masse for cutting Social Security benefits. Pelosi is making it overwhelmingly clear the Democratic Party is no longer the defender of Social Security, America’s most popular public program.
It is a dark day when the only thing protecting Social Security benefits is the unwillingness of the Republican to compromise on taxes.
If you thought during the 2010 campaign the Republicans ads run against Democrats for “cutting Medicare” were devastating, just wait until 2014 when they run ads against Democrats for cutting Social Security.