Wednesday, September 03, 2014 / PROGRESSIVE JOURNALISM FOR POSITIVE ACTION
Get Email Updates | Log In | Register

Norman Solomon
Norman Solomon / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 28 February 2013
The Grayson-Takano letter is a breath of fresh progressive air, blowing away the customary fog that hangs over such matters on Capitol Hill.

Three-Quarters of Progressive Caucus Not Taking a Stand Against Cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Article image

For the social compact of the United States, most of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has gone missing.

While still on the caucus roster, three-quarters of the 70-member caucus seem lost in political smog. Those 54 members of the Progressive Caucus haven’t signed the current letter that makes a vital commitment: “we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”

More than 10 days ago, Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano initiated the forthright letter, circulating it among House colleagues. Addressed to President Obama, the letter has enabled members of Congress to take a historic stand: joining together in a public pledge not to vote for any cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

The Grayson-Takano letter is a breath of fresh progressive air, blowing away the customary fog that hangs over such matters on Capitol Hill.

The Progressive Caucus co-chairs, Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, signed the letter. So did Barbara Lee, the caucus whip. But no signer can be found among the five vice chairs of the Progressive Caucus: Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Michael Honda, Sheila Jackson-Lee and Jan Schakowsky. The letter’s current list of signers includes just 16 members of the Progressive Caucus (along with five other House signers who aren’t part of the caucus).

What about the other 54 members of the Progressive Caucus? Their absence from the letter is a clear message to the Obama White House, which has repeatedly declared its desire to cut the Social Security cost of living adjustment as well as Medicare. In effect, those 54 non-signers are signaling: Mr. President, we call ourselves “progressive” but we are unwilling to stick our necks out by challenging you in defense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; we want some wiggle room that you can exploit.

In contrast, the House members on the short list of the letter’s signers deserve our praise for taking a clear stand: Brown, Cartwright, Conyers, DeFazio, Ellison, Faleomavaega, Grayson, G. Green, Grijalva, Gutierrez, A. Hastings, Kaptur, Lee, McGovern, Nadler, Napolitano, Nolan, Serrano, Takano, Velazquez and Waters.

If you don’t see the name of your representative in the above paragraph, you might want to have a few words. (For a list of the 54 Progressive Caucus members who haven’t signed the letter, click here.)

It’s one thing -- a fairly easy thing -- to tell someone else what you hope they’ll do, as 107 House Democrats did recently in a different letter to President Obama: “We write to affirm our vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. . . . We urge you to reject any proposals to cut benefits.”

It’s much more difficult -- and far more crucial -- for members of Congress to publicly commit themselves not to vote for any cuts in those programs, which are matters of life and death for vast numbers of Americans.

Even a signed pledge to do or not do something, in terms of a floor vote, is no guarantee that a member of Congress will actually follow through. But in a situation like this, the pledge is significant -- and even more significant is a refusal to make such a pledge.

As of now, 54 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have taken a historic dive. We should take note -- and not forget who they are.



Author pic
ABOUT Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is an American journalist, media critic, antiwar activist, and losing candidate in 2012 for the United States House of Representatives. Solomon is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

How much has YOUR

How much has YOUR representative taken from the health care lobby?

Perhaps your snarky energy

Perhaps your snarky energy could be used to make some phone calls to the representatives that haven't signed onto the pledge? I called 3, how about you? Armchair quarterbacks who do NOTHING! Get off the couch.

This is the same Progressive

This is the same Progressive Caucus that ALL took the pledge not to vote for a health care bill that did not contain a Public Option, collected $400,000 in individual contributions for signing the pledge, then folded but kept the money.

The same Progressive Caucus that signed on to the "People's Budget," but then folded on that when House leader Pelosi told them to straighten up.

Oh, and where is your hero Elizabeth Warren? Even though she's in the Senate, it wouldn't hurt her to publicly come out and support it. She too is silent.

One of these days, the cowardly "lesser of two evils" liberals will realize that the Democraps were never their friends, and in fact were working hand in glove with the Rethugs to bring about total domination by the 1%.

There is a party that would have fought for you. If everyone would only vote their true 'values' we would have a much different country.

One has to wonder if possibly

One has to wonder if possibly these are unlucky Progressive Democrats that pulled the long straws and therefore must follow the dictates of the DNC and go with the mush letter for the toothless rather than the letter with teeth or are they pretend Progressives.

To summarize: Duplicitous Dem

To summarize:
Duplicitous Dem elite duopolist Obama wants to cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, as do those evil Repubs.
75% of Congressional Dems who call themselves progressives decline to take a stand against the cuts Obama wants to make.
Two thirds of the huge tax cuts granted the wealthy under Reagan remain in force, and the offshored trillions grow by billions daily, all untaxed.
Obama fans, please stand up and take a bow.
Also please share your dog-food recipes.

Comment with your Facebook account



Comment with your Disqus account

Top Stories

NationofChange works to educate, inform, and fight power with people, corruption with community.

If you would like to stay up to date with the best in independent, filter-free journalism, updates on upcoming events to attend, and more, enter your email below:

The most complete GMO-free living guide.

Your GMO guide is here

Click here to sign up to receive the NationofChange e-newsletter and receive our complimentary guide, "No GMO", NationofChange's guide for GMO-free living.