Thursday, April 18, 2013

104 Republican Congressmen Voted To Reduce Benefits For Seniors And Vets


Looks like somebody stepped in it

The GOP is trying to decide how to best use Obama's screw up on Chained CPI for their own purposes. It's a Republican Party policy that he foolishly adopted for his dead-in-the-water budget at the urging of Boehner and McConnell. When will he ever learn that their ideas are toxic? (That's a rhetorical question; he'll never learn.) But while some Republicans praise the idea or say it doesn't go far enough, the chairman of the NRCC, Greg Walden (R-OR) has decided to use it in an attack against Democrats aimed at seniors and people who expect to be seniors someday. H was quick to run to CNN and tell Wolf Blitzer viewers that "the budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will. And we haven't seen all the detail yet, and we'll look at it, but I'll tell you, when you're going after seniors the way he's already done on Obamacare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think you're crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine, certainly, and around the country. I think he's going to have a lot of pushback from some of the major senior organizations on this and Republicans, as well... you're trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors and I just think it's not the right way to go."

And yet... and yet... 104 House Republicans already voted for Chained CPI on March 20th, when it was presented as part of the Republican Study Committee's alternative budget. So whatever game Walden wants to try playing, the candidates he's charged with reelecting aren't running against Barack Obama. They're running against Democrats who, in most instances are strongly opposed to Chained CPI, no matter if it's being proposed by Boehner, Obama or a bunch of crackpot extremists. Let's take Buck McKeon, for example. McKeon is an extremist in a moderate suburban Los Angeles area district (CA-25). His likely opponent in 2014 will be Dr. Lee Rogers, one of America's most distinguished podiatric surgeons, a man who already came closer to beating McKeon than anyone else in his career. As soon as Alan Grayson and Mark Takano circulated their letter pledging not to vote for any cuts to benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Rogers announced he would have signed it on the day it was drafted. "As a doctor I am adamantly opposed to cutting benefits to our population in most need. I announced several weeks ago, I would have been a day-one signer of the letter Mark Takano and Alan Grayson authored pledging to protect seniors and veterans from cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, including chained CPI." So for voters in Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley and Simi Valley, there is a clear choice: McKeon (and Obama) want to cut social security benefits for seniors and veterans using Chained CPI. Rogers is adamantly opposed. 104 Republican incumbents are in the same boat and although most of them are crazy fanatics in gerrymandered blood red districts with constituents as ignorant as they are, there are several, like McKeon, in more precarious political positions.

This is a list of Republicans (with their districts' PVIs) who already voted to reduce benefits for seniors and veterans and could be vulnerable to competent independent-minded Democratic opponents in 2014:
Justin Amash (R-MI) R+4
Joe Barton (R-TX) R+11
Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) R+4
Dave Camp (R-MI) R+5
Steve Chabot (R-OH) R+6
Ron DeSantis (R-FL) R+9
Scott Garrett (R-NJ) R+4
Randy Hultgren (R-IL) R+5
Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) R+10
Patrick McHenry (R-NC) R+11
John Mica (R-FL) R+4
Steve Pearce (R-NM) R+5
Robert Pittenger (R-NC) R+8
Scott Rigell (R-VA) R+2
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) R+7
Pete Sessions (R-TX) R+10
Lee Terry (R-NE) R+4
Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) R+8
There are Democrats serving in Congress in districts with PVIs higher than these. It won't be easy for any of them, but it's not impossible either. The Democrats running against these guys-- and every one of them is a male (even Patrick McHenry and Dave Camp)-- have an opponent who voted to cut Social Security for seniors and vets. They did it already. That should be what the election in those districts are about.

Two of the Democrats in the Blue America Save Social Security contest, Nick Ruiz and Ken Sanders, are in that sweet spot, respectively running against John Mica and Joe Barton. As you can see, each is already running against Chained CPI and other unfair cuts their opponents back. Sanders has a message that will resonate in the suburbs between Dallas and Ft Worth, maybe even down in Waxahachie, Midlothian, Ennis and Corsicana:
"We cannot balance the budget on the backs of seniors, veterans, and our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled one inch. Chained CPI, cutting Social Security, is a terrible idea and a pointless exercise. Besides, Social Security isn't in serious trouble. The Social Security trust fund is flush for at least two decades. If we want to ensure it's there beyond that, there's an easy fix-- just lift the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes, which is now $113,700. This way people making above $113,700 will pay like everyone else does, is a far better way of keeping Social Security secure long into the future. We need Congressional leaders who support middle class families, seniors and veterans; those who have helped make this nation great. I will fight to defend social security from Chained CPI. Seniors spend 20-40% of their income on healthcare. Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income; one-third relies on it for at least 90% of their income. These people aren’t stashing their Social Security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba-- they are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class. Right now, corporate profits are at an all time high, the wealthy are doing phenomenally well and we must not balance the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country. Support me and I will be your voice in Washington to fight against Chained CPI and any other cut that threatens the shrinking middle class families of this country."
Nick Ruiz is running in the suburbs just north of Orlando-- Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Oviedo, Maitland, Apopka, and all the way up to Deltona and Orange City. He'd make a great neighbor for Alan Grayson, who represents the suburbs on the other side of Orlando. They sure see eye to eye on protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Ruiz: "I would never vote to diminish Social Security benefits.These benefits cover retirees, widows, children, disabled persons and veterans-- none of whom receive enough as it is by current economic standards of reasonable cost, inflation and common decency. In fact, it's part of my platform to actually increase Social Security benefits, financed by lifting the FICA cap, and Wall Street cost-sharing. My GOP opponent, John Mica wants to CUT Social Security benefits and make seniors retire even later in life, at 70 years of age. It's unacceptable. Help me stop him."

If you'd like to vote in our contest, just contribute at least one dollar to one of the anti-Chained CPI candidates on this page. The candidate who gets the most donors wins $1,000 from the Blue America PAC and everyone who donates is eligible to win an RIAA-certified platinum award for the eponymous 311 album. Win-win!

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