There’s a lot of early maneuvering about entitlement reform happening on Capitol Hill, and as is perennially the case in Washington, “entitlement reform” translates into Social Security cuts.
Progressives won’t abide by that, but if a bipartisan consensus forms around it, they may be outnumbered.
But a recent fundraising letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) should cheer them a bit.
“I don’t think anyone is going to propose cutting Social Security benefits — if they do, I’ll vote against those cuts,” she writes.
You can read the entire letter below.
McCaskill is a moderate Dem in a swing state, who’s in cycle this election season. This suggests the poltiifcs of Social Security is still on the side of those who don’t want to see benefit cuts. McCaskill, and others in her position, are expected to be weak links by virute of their political situations back home and the constant drumbeat for spending cuts in Washington. But she apparently isn’t one.
She sent it in the context of the current spending fight — and by all accounts entitlements aren’t a part of that debate. But that’s a pretty firm position to take, which will matter if and when Social Security does become part of the debate over the debt limit, or the 2012 budget.
Wow — what a response!
Last week I sent you a survey to get your input on budget priorities, and over 5,000 folks responded. I can’t tell you how helpful your feedback has been — especially right now, as fellow Democrats and I are doing everything we can to avert a disastrous government shutdown.
Your voice has been with me in Washington this week during budget discussions — but I need your support at home, too. Make a contribution of $5 or more now to help my campaign lay the groundwork to keep fighting for you.
As a group, you told me that education, Medicare, and Social Security were top priorities — I couldn’t agree more. And I heard your concerns about environmental protection and health care coverage. In addition, you told me that we could afford cuts to Homeland Security, foreign aid, military/defense, and corporate tax breaks/subsidies.
This week we have a lot of tough decisions to make — but I can tell you a few things for sure:
1. I don’t think anyone is going to propose cutting Social Security benefits — if they do, I’ll vote against those cuts.
2. I’m going to do everything I can to protect core education programs — but, as with most parts of the budget, I’m looking for ways to be more efficient in the administration of these important programs.
3. I agree that we absolutely need cuts in the discretionary defense budget — we just cannot tolerate any more Pentagon waste.
4. One of the first items on the chopping block should be subsidies for big oil corporations which are among the richest and most profitable companies in the world.
You can count on me to keep focused on our priorities as we start this tug-of-war on the budget. Help me keep fighting for our values with a contribution of $5 to my campaign now — right now when we set the stage for the kind of race we want to run.
Kristine D., one of my Facebook friends, said in response to the priorities: “Thanks for asking us what ‘we, the people’ want.”
You’re welcome! To get our deficit under control, the reality is that we’re going to have to make a lot of painful cuts that will impact lots of Missourians. That’s why I ask to hear directly from you — through our email survey, through Facebook and Twitter, at the town hall meetings I held last week in Franklin County, Columbia, and Blue Springs.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me — and trusting me to get the job done. Now, help my campaign keep the fight going with a contribution of $5.
Thank you again.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.