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November 19, 2012

AARP Backs Down on Supporting Benefit Cuts

Posted in: social security

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FDL and other groups successfully pressured AARP into backing off support for benefit cuts

This is what a grassroots victory looks like. Last year when President Obama was trying to get a deficit deal that would significantly cut social safety net benefits, AARP was giving him cover. Now after receiving too much blowback, AARP is no longer supporting cuts. From the Washington Post:

AARP, the lobbying powerhouse for older Americans, last year made a dramatic concession. Amid a national debate over whether to overhaul Social Security, the group said for the first time it was open to cuts in benefits.

The backlash from AARP members and liberal groups that oppose changes in the program was enormous — and this time around, as Washington debates how to tame the ballooning federal debt, AARP is flatly opposed to any benefit reductions for the nation’s retirees. [...]

“We’re fighting to stop cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that will hurt beneficiaries,” said AARP’s top lobbyist, Nancy LeaMond. “We want to ensure that Social Security is not part of this deficit discussion.”

AARP changing its position is not going to guarantee that Social Security and Medicare are safe during fiscal cliff negotiations. There is still a huge amount of Wall Street money lined up behind efforts to cut the programs, but it does make cutting the programs politically more difficult for the White House.

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