In advance of any upcoming budget deal, progressive groups have begun pushing House Democrats to sign a letter to President Obama indicating that they will not back anything that cuts entitlement benefits. As of Wednesday, the letter, originally written by progressive Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Mark Takano (D-CA), had 10 additional signers.
The coalition pushing the letter, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn.org and Credo Action, announced it also added two unions, the National Nurses Union and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, to the list.
The groups said 110,000 supporters had also signed the letter within 24 hours of it being put online and supporters have placed more than 4,000 calls to members of Congress.
The 10 additional House members who have signed the letter are Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Jim McGovern (D-MA) Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Jose Serrano (D-NY).
Dear President Obama:
We join millions of Americans in applauding your Inaugural Address declaration that "we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."
Democrats have built the most popular government programs in American history – including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- by working with Republicans whenever possible and by defeating Republican opposition whenever necessary. The torch has been passed to today’s elected officials, and we must carry it forward boldly.
Voters across the political spectrum oppose cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits, and we must do whatever it takes to protect these vital benefits from cuts.
That's why we write to let you know that 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.
We firmly believe that the best way to reduce our deficit and make our economy grow is to create jobs, and we look forward to a returned focus on this core issue.
We also know that there are common-sense reforms that would reduce health-care costs and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars without cutting benefits. If Republicans oppose these reforms, and insist on benefits cuts, that proves they are not concerned about the deficit – but instead are trying to tear the social safety net and cause pain for our constituents who can least absorb it.
Finally, Americans agree that there is more that must be done to require the rich and giant corporations to pay their fair share. Indeed, it is their patriotic duty to do so.
As you negotiate with Republicans, you deserve to know that millions of Americans and the below signed Members of Congress stand ready to fight for the principles listed above.