If you've been tuning out the fight in Washington over the "debt ceiling," it's time to tune in. Right now.
The New York Times reports that President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are close to reaching a secret agreement that includes deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, but have no immediate plan to make millionaires and corporations pay their fair share.1, 2
This is an absolutely critical moment for MoveOn members to make an impact.
Democratic Leaders in Congress—including Minority Leader Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid—have consistently said that a lopsided deal like this is a non-starter.3 But if a backroom deal is reached, they'll be under extraordinary pressure to go along. They need to hear loud and clear from their donors, volunteers, and voters that such a deal would be completely unacceptable.
Things are moving very quickly right now, so we're joining other key progressive groups for today's Emergency Call-In Day to Demand They Stand Strong. Democrats in Congress need to hear that if they stand firm against any debt ceiling deal that goes after the elderly and poor, we'll have their backs.
Will you call Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and ask them to make clear that they will not vote for a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits or a deal that doesn't make corporations and the rich pay their fair share?
Current reports suggest that the deal that's being negotiated may trade deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare for an end to the Bush tax breaks for the rich.4 But here's the thing: those tax cuts are already scheduled to expire. There's no need to make a deal including severe cuts in order to end them.
Even more upsetting: the change President Obama is reportedly offering to Social Security would cut already-meager benefits by almost 10% for millions of Americans.5 But this is totally unnecessary: simply asking the rich to pay payroll taxes on all their income, like middle class folks and poor folks already do, could make Social Security solvent without cutting benefits.
The president doesn't need to give in to Republicans' hostage-taking. Congressional Republicans are beginning to feel the pressure from their rich donors to find a compromise to lift the debt ceiling, even if they don't get the huge cuts they're looking for. If we can get congressional Democrats to stand strong, we can force a better deal, one that protects Social Security and Medicare and does more to ensure that corporations and millionaires pay their fair share.
We can't let the White House cave to their demands now.
Time is critical. That's why it is so urgent that you call Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand right now. Tell them to tell the White House: no deals with deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and no deals without real revenue increases.
Then, please report your call by clicking here:
Thanks for all you do.Justin, Elena, Daniel, Julia, and the rest of the team
1. "Boehner and Obama Nearing Deal on Cuts and Taxes," The New York Times, July 21, 2011
2. "McConnell-Reid Debt Deal Close To Being Scrapped, Larger Package Reportedly In Reach," The Huffington Post, July 21, 2011
3. "Senate Democrats: We Will Not Let GOP Cut Medicare," The Huffington Post, June 14, 2011
4. "Boehner and Obama Nearing Deal on Cuts and Taxes," The New York Times, July 21, 2011
5. "Ripping off needy seniors through the 'chained CPI,'" The Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2011