Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) should use their power to appoint members of the “Super Committee” created by the new debt ceiling legislation to make sure that the Democratic half of that powerful group will be composed of six strong defenders of key programs, and advocates of tax fairness and job creation.
The six Democratic designees are likely to be the only members who can make sure this new committee pursues the mandate of the American Majority who want the politicians to deal with deficits without worsening the fragile economic recovery and without cutting benefits for Americans who depend on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Republican leaders have pledged to appoint only Senate and House representatives who are solidly opposed to tax increases of any kind.
What progressives want is clear: We want revenue increases at least equal to spending cuts; we want Members of Congress to defend Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and we want action to spur economic growth and jobs. But the establishment of the so-called Super Committee undoubtedly puts vital programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in a position of great vulnerability.
The assault on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be met with strong Democratic resistance. In the interest of protecting the promises made to current and future seniors of this nation, we call on Congressional Democrats to demand that further cuts not come on the back of our nation’s middle class or society’s most vulnerable. We urge Democratic leaders appointing members to the new “Gang of 12,” to insist that any agreement seeking to reduce the deficit include revenues equal to any all spending cuts proposed.
Most importantly, we must ensure that the structure and benefits of our nation’s safety net are preserved. Any agreement deviating from these principles must be rejected by Congressional Democrats. Eventually it will be left to the American people to decide in 2012 just who’s looking out for their best interests.
All Members of Congress should remember that at the next election, Americans will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to vote for anyone who would gut Medicare and Social Security to protect tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.