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What Do Pelosi’s Smoke Signals Really Mean?

Posted By Tamara Lytle On March 15, 2013 @ 3:44 pm In Washington Watch | Comments Disabled

As President Obama’s personal lobbying on Capitol Hill this week seemed to bring him closer to Republican lawmakers as he talked about changes in Medicare [1] and Social Security [2], Democrats offered the expected pushback.

BUDGET [3]But Obama won unexpected support from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, usually a leader of the party’s liberal wing.

USA Today reported [4] Pelosi as saying that Democrats are open to some reforms, among them requiring wealthier Americans to pay more for Medicare.

She also sounded amenable to a change that’s anathema to many liberals: rewriting the formula that calculates future Social Security benefits [5] to one that has a less generous measure of inflation built into it. Pelosi, The Hill reported [6], “said moving to a less generous formula for adjusting Social Security benefits to inflation [7]¬†- if¬† it protects the most vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries¬†- might be preferable to other entitlement cuts Republicans are urging, like raising Medicare’s eligibility age.”

In a briefing with reporters, Pelosi said, “I’d have to say that if we can demonstrate that it doesn’t hurt the poor and the very elderly [8], then let’s take a look at it,” Pelosi told reporters.

That, of course, doesn’t mean other liberals are ready to follow.

The Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter writes [9] that Pelosi is “undercutting what has been key rhetoric for Democrats in all of these budget fights: we won’t reduce the deficit on the backs of poor/elderly/middle class/working Americans. So why even go near breaking that promise?”

To which McCarter adds: “That’s what liberals in the House are asking, too.”

When the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent asked [10] Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, what’s worse – the sequester or some kind of grand bargain with the Republicans that includes changes in Social Security and Medicare – Ellison replied: “It’s like saying, ‘Which of your kids do you want to sacrifice to the monster?’ Neither one.”

Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/15/what-do-pelosis-smoke-signals-really-mean/

URLs in this post:

[1] Medicare: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/12/medicare-once-again-a-political-hot-potato/

[2] Social Security: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/11/5-reasons-chained-cpi-is-bad-for-social-security/

[3] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/BUDGET.jpg

[4] USA Today reported: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/14/obama-congress-boehner-budget-sequester/1986989/

[5] calculates future Social Security benefits: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/13/cola-change-how-much-would-you-lose/

[6] The Hill reported: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/288157-pelosi-open-to-obama-proposal-on-entitlement-cuts

[7] inflation: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/21/chained-cpi-for-social-security-not-more-accurate-for-seniors/

[8] hurt the poor and the very elderly: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/14/white-house-congress-may-cut-disabled-veterans-benefits-twice/

[9] writes: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/14/1194080/-Nancy-Pelosi-backs-up-President-Obama-on-Social-Security-cuts

[10] Greg Sargent asked: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/03/14/liberals-to-dem-leaders-dont-even-think-about-touching-social-security-benefits/

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