2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The people win in Wisconsin; Gov. Walker recall set

The photo of Professor Bowie was taken by a friend of hers.
Gov. Walker
 
Wow! Has it been a year since protests erupted in Madison in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s actions? In the foreground of the picture on the right, Katherine Bowie, Professor of Anthropology at UW-Madison, stares back at a couple of state troopers. She had just crawled through a window in the capitol building, shortly after the senate vote that stripped teachers and other state employees of their bargaining rights. Katherine’s rallying cry back then was, “On to the recall effort.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Katherine must be celebrating this evening because the recall of Scott Walker was announced today with the primary scheduled for May 8 and the general election set for June 5. Almost immediately, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s Democratic opponent in 2010, entered the race.

Politico’s Mackenzie Weinger reports:

Barrett is aiming for a rematch of his 2010 battle with Walker, which the Republican won 52 percent to 47 percent.

“We need to bring our state back,” Barrett wrote in an email to supporters. “Wisconsin needs a governor who is focused on jobs, not ideology; a leader committed to bringing our state together and healing political wounds, not pitting people against each other and catering to the special interests. This is the governor I will be for the people of Wisconsin.”



Thursday, March 29, 2012

In support of the Violence Against Women Act, Wisc. Rep. Gwen Moore recounts her personal experience of sexual abuse (video)

Rep. Moore, official portrait.

Friends of Katalusis,

The video below shows Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s impassioned speech in which she recounted her personal history of sexual abuse. Rep. Moore spoke on the House floor in support of  renewing the Violence Against Women Act that nevertheless failed to pass. After you watch the video, sign the petition from Credo that follows it.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 
The latest attack on women is over the Violence Against Women Act.

The last time this program was reauthorized, it passed nearly unanimously through the House and Senate — but incredibly, the all-male Republican block on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the bill.

That's right: Republicans are now standing in the way of reauthorizing an incredibly popular and successful program that has reduced domestic violence rates by 58% since it was first passed in 1994.

Tell Republican leadership to stop playing politics with women's lives and pass the Violence Against Women Act now! Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Voting to defund Planned Parenthood, redefine rape, and block access to contraception has not been enough for anti-woman members of Congress — they now want to block funding for victims of domestic violence.

Every female Senator — including 5 Republicans — supports this important act. And yet the bill only has 58 co-sponsors, two votes shy of the 60 votes needed to defeat a promised Republican filibuster.

Even as their party continues to lead attacks on women, Republican leadership should honor the wishes of the women in their own caucus and call off the filibuster.

Tell Republican leadership to stop playing politics with women's lives and pass the Violence Against Women Act now! Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Blocking funding for victims of domestic violence is low, even for this Republican Congress. With enough pressure from the grassroots and the all of women in the Senate Republican caucus co-sponsoring the bill, we can stop the filibuster and pass reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Tell Republican leadership to stop playing politics with women's lives and pass the Violence Against Women Act now! Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=5542989&id=37476-4150669-MPL%3Dhgx&t=10

Thank you for standing up for women.

Ali Rozell, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Monday, March 26, 2012

Andrew Sullivan’s irrational attacks on Hillary Clinton

Clinton with Masaai dancers, courtesy of New Agenda.
Thatcher, 1981, public domain.

As early as 2007, self-described conservative columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan zealously supported the candidacy of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary and on into the general election. And Sullivan continues to make excuses for and defend Obama to this day. Simultaneous to his support of Obama, Sullivan has been unrelenting in his attacks on Hillary Clinton. And like many devout supporters of Obama, Sullivan now appears to be aggravated by Clinton’s consistently high approval rating as secretary of state; whereas, Obama’s rating dips off and on to discouraging levels in his run for a second term as president.

At the New Agenda on Monday, Anita Finlay takes Sullivan to task for his latest vituperative remarks targeting Secretary Clinton:

Per an article in the Daily Caller, last Friday’s “Overtime” segment of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” featured Newsweek columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan taking a swipe at Secretary of State Clinton while exalting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Wendy Schiller, associate professor at Brown University, argued with Andrew Sullivans’ claims that:
“[Thatcher] absolutely used her femininity, her beauty, her wit [and] her humor to run rings around these stupid men around her” …“But she never — she never said, ‘I’m a woman. I’m being attacked unfairly because I’m a woman.’ She never played that card. She never played the card that Hillary [Clinton] played at some points. She never played the ‘oh you can’t do this to me’ [card]. She played the ‘I’m as hard as nails as everyone, I’m a feminist who doesn’t believe there’s a difference between men and women in the public square and we abide by the same rules and God help you fight with me’ [card].”
Prof. Schiller rightly pointed out:
“[Hillary Clinton] was maligned and abused since the minute she stepped into public life with her husband,” Schiller said. “And in 2008, she took more abuse, and Sarah Palin might be a close second, more abuse than any human being in politics. She never played the woman’s card. She was tough as nails. And she’s running around the world securing peace now.”
Sullivan countered that Hillary rode her husband’s coattails to her current success and put him before herself.  He then declared, “That’s not a feminist.”

There is so much wrong with his statements, it is hard to know where to begin.  But we are dealing with a man who in 2007 said this of then-Senator Clinton:
“…[W]hen I see her again, all my — all the cootie vibes sort of resurrect themselves…I’m sorry.  I must represent a lot of people… I actually find her positions appealing in many ways.  I just can’t stand her.”
Looking through this lens, his statements are suspect, but they are worth discussing because he offers an example of how women are continually trivialized and maligned without cause.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Romney the politician vs. Obama the would-be “transformative president”


I don’t get it. Why is the media so stirred up over Mitt Romney’s portrayal as a politician? The Etch-a-Sketch candidate, etc. Would our astute pundits prefer that Mitt pose as a saintly gentleman, far above politics, who once elected will ride into Washington on a white horse and drive out all of the evildoers? Oops. That was Barack Obama in ’08. And he didn’t even wait until he assumed office; he lunged to the center immediately after the DNC anointed him as nominee.

As recently as last September, liberal NY Times columnist Charles Blow, who supported Obama’s candidacy from day one, asked his readers:
 
Does he have any interest in becoming the Obama of people’s imaginations, the one they thought they saw through the showers of streamers, and explosions of confetti in 2008 — the man who only ever existed in their own minds? 

Is the “transformative president” more than an opportunistic transformer, shifting shape to suit the moment, but truly settling on none? 

Blow continues:

He {Obama} isn’t only battling a calcifying cynicism about the inefficacy of government in general, he’s battling the rapidly hardening public perception that he himself is a product of what I call the doughnut doctrine of leadership — soft, glazy, hollow in the middle and ideally suited for getting dunked.

Ouch.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Exxon Valdez?


Our mild winter and early spring this year in Minnesota is nice in some ways, but it does trigger fears about global warming. This timely email from the Alaska Wilderness League merits the attention of all conscientious people, no matter where you pitch your tent on the Planet Earth.

Tomorrow will mark 23 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s beautiful and wild Prince William Sound. This spill is considered one of the most devastating in history, with disastrous effects on wildlife and humans. Tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil still linger there today.

Nobody wants a repeat of the Exxon Valdez, but right now, Shell Oil’s drill ships are on their way to America’s Arctic Ocean to begin the most aggressive offshore Arctic drilling program in history.  The remote Arctic Ocean, with its volatile weather and towering sea ice, is home to polar bears, walrus, whales and birds.  It’s a beautiful but dangerous place – and if a spill should occur, the reality is that Shell has no viable plan to clean it up.

Please call President Obama today at (202) 456-1414 and ask him to protect America’s Arctic Ocean by stopping Shell’s risky drilling plans.
 
Shell is pushing to drill in our Arctic waters with no viable plan to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic’s extreme conditions, and with limited information about the Arctic’s marine environment.  The fact is there is no proven way to clean an oil spill in sea ice. And even if Shell could clean up the oil, the Arctic Ocean is so remote – the nearest Coast Guard station is 1,000 miles away – that a quick response would be impossible.

Now, more than two decades after the Exxon Valdez disaster, the American people want real change when it comes to offshore drilling – not just business as usual.  Right now, President Obama is considering whether or not he will stop Shell’s risky drilling plans.  If he fails to act now, he could be left with the next major oil spill disaster on his hands – and the destruction of one of our planet’s most vital ecosystems.

Please call President Obama today at (202) 456-1414 and ask him to protect America’s Arctic Ocean.

Thanks for all you do.
Leah Donahey
Western Arctic and Oceans Program Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Romney sweeps Illinois; Santorum has problems with numbers

The Loser: Ill. primary
The winner: Illinois primary
  On Romney’s double-digit win in Ill., the Huffington Post’s bright red, front-page banner headline shouts: EXIT POLLS: 39% 'HAVE RESERVATIONS' ABOUT THEIR CANDIDATE!

Keep in mind that although the Huffington Post has often expressed disillusionment with President Obama, the website served as a powerful megaphone throughout his candidacy while going all out in its attempt to destroy Hillary Clinton.

Now it appears that Arianna and her minions are calculating that Mitt Romney poses a tougher threat to Obama than any of his rivals for the nomination. But really, it’s not just the Huffington Post. The majority of the left-wing pundits and political reporters across the media are following Huffpo’s lead in seeking to take Romney down. I don’t know. Maybe they think Obama, the guy who has disappointed them so many times since he won his party's nomination, is the lesser of two evils?

For a balanced account of the Ill. primary results I turned to Politico. In contrast to how the Huffington Post headlined the story, Politico’s headline reads: Illinois primary results: Mitt Romney crushes Rick Santorum. Politico’s Alexander Burns reports:


Mitt Romney crushed Rick Santorum in the Illinois primary Tuesday night, padding his delegate lead and once again forcing his Republican opponents to find another moment to mount a guerrilla challenge to his campaign.

With 55 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 48 percent of the vote to Santorum’s 34 percent, Ron Paul’s 9 percent and Newt Gingrich’s 8 percent. That puts Illinois on track to be Romney’s biggest win in a large state since the Florida primary in January.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kentucky Wildcats: “the country’s most-talented team” in the NCAA tournament


The 2012 presidential race is emerging so far as exceptionally dull with the electorate most likely facing the uninspiring choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (Romney is expected to win the Illinois primary today). That might explain why the NY Times front-page headline It Might as well be Kentucky and the Round of 15 caught the eye of this sports non-enthusiast.

In the interest of full disclosure, I also note that my parents and older siblings were all native-born Kentuckians who later emigrated to northwestern Ohio, where I was born and raised. So I continue to have a soft spot in my heart for the Bluegrass State, and I’m pleased to take this opportunity to cheer on the University of Kentucky Wildcats, glowingly described in the NY Times article by Pete Thamel:

Kentucky is obviously the country’s most-talented team: years from now people will look back in wonderment that a single college team included such talent. The Web site Draft Express projects the star freshmen big men Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to be the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the coming N.B.A. draft. The inconsistent sophomore Terrence Jones projects at No. 20 and the sophomore Doron Lamb projects early in the second round.

Read the entire article here:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Radical support for a pastor’s betrayed wife

Desert flower (public domain)
The next time you’re tempted to criticize or judge the wife of a powerful man whose sexual indiscretions have been made public, first read this blog post titled Love and Lent: How my faith was formed in the midst of betrayal, by Carol Howard Merritt, published in the Christian Century a couple of days ago:

"I saw him in the parking lot with her. I think he wanted to get caught," my mom's hushed voice bleeds with betrayal. Unlike most gossip, this conversation doesn't have the quality of a listener, hungry for salacious trivialities.  The whole house feels on edge, as I sit on the couch in an adjoining room, straining to hear.

I'm fifteen years old. I missed church that Sunday morning, but I'm catching up with what happened in the service through my mom's one-sided phone conversations. The instant mom hangs up the phone it rings again. She's in a t-shirt and shorts, walking back and forth with bare feet on the cork kitchen tile, reciting assorted facts and collecting others. 

The bits and pieces come together. Our pastor had an affair and confessed it in his sermon. He stood up in front of the church and let the gathered members know that he had succumbed to temptation, but he was ready to just "move on." 

The shocked congregation is not so ready to just move on. They want details. They demand to know exactly what had happened, how long, and with whom. The elders and the pastor schedule a meeting for that evening. As the sun goes down, my father leaves for the gathering of leaders. 

My mother paces the kitchen a few more times. Instead of grabbing the phone again, she picks up a big basin and places our plushest guest towels inside of it. Then she yells out to the quiet house, "Car-ol! Let's go!" 


Note: Carol Howard Merritt, is a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church, the author of Reframing Hope and Tribal Church and the cohost of God Complex Radio. Her blog Tribal Church is hosted by the Century.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Delegate math still favors Romney in Republican primary race


The Christian Science Monitor sums up the delegate count so far in the Republican primary race, and it appears that despite Santorum’s wins in the south this Tuesday, March 13, Romney is still the frontrunner:

Out of 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination, Romney has 485, versus 246 for Santorum, 131 for Mr. Gingrich, and 47 for Paul, according to the Associated Press’s partial delegate count based on Tuesday’s results.

Get the complete results of Tuesday’s vote here.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What if GW Bush – instead of Obama – had done that?

Politico’s Josh Gerstein asks a question that should trouble all Americans, but especially those who feverishly supported candidate Obama in 2008 as he railed against his predecessor’s “failed policies of the past.” Gerstein wants to know, “What if Bush had done that?” And he notes in passing how the media shapes public opinion to support its pre-established narrative – it’s good to have that reality publicly acknowledged.

Gerstein writes (emphasis mine):

President Barack Obama has forged a surprising consensus on opposite ends of the political spectrum: They wonder how on earth he gets away with it.

A series of recent moves — from aggressively filling his reelection war chest to green-lighting shoot-to-kill orders against an American terror suspect overseas — would have triggered a massive backlash if George W. Bush had tried them, say former Bush administration officials and a few on the political left. Even Obama’s love for the links draws only gentle ribbing rather than the denunciations that helped drive Bush to give up the game for the balance of his presidency.

The muted public response has fueled frustration – and more than a little envy.

“A little bit of consistency from the media would be appreciated — and from the left-wing groups,” said Mark Corallo, director of public affairs at the Justice Department from 2002-05. “I don’t see anybody standing up. … Where is the outrage?”

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, an icon of what the Obama White House famously dubbed “the professional left,” also sees a strange lack of interest toward some of Obama’s policies. Among them: his administration’s claim that the Constitution allows executive use of armed drones to kill U.S. citizens abroad deemed to be terrorist operatives.

“Virtually all the Democrats who were apoplectic about Bush and were constantly complaining about him ‘trampling on our values’ over eavesdropping and detention have been silent about assassination, even though it’s so much more severe,” Greenwald said. “It isn’t that Obama is necessarily any worse on civil liberties than Bush. The point is he’s able to get away with so much more.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment for this story. But Obama aides have noted that he takes plenty of heat for other policies — such as expanding entitlements or phasing out traditional light bulbs — that were far less controversial when Bush did them. Obama’s recent decision on contraception and religious employers triggered a political firestorm, but a similar policy in place throughout the Bush administration barely registered on the political radar.

Some differences in coverage flow from a simple truth: Stories that feed an established media narrative about a political figure get more attention than those that cut against it. And the press tends to blow up stories when partisans attack one another. Some of Obama’s practices, particularly in the war on terror, are supported by Republicans — even as they cringe at the unanimity.





Monday, March 12, 2012

Hillary Clinton: “It’s Time to Shape Our Destinies”

Here's Secretary Clinton the day before the Women in the World Summit, delivering remarks during the first Innovation Award ceremony for women creating change in their communities. State Department photo by Michael Gross

Introduced by acclaimed actress, Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton spoke at the Women in the World Summit in New York on March 10, 2012. Watch Streep’s introduction and Clinton’s remarks in the videos shown below.

Meryl Streep introduces Hillary Clinton at the Women in the World Summit 2012:


Hillary Clinton’s remarks atthe Women in the World Summit 2012.




Sunday, March 11, 2012

Twin Cities area seminary walks the talk on behalf of social justice for all

Image courtesy of Center for Public Ministry, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.


United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, my alma mater, has a history of emphasizing social justice in its core curriculum; the school is also known for its activism on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed. United walks the talk.

                  The other day, I received the first newsletter (excerpts below) of United’s recently established Center for Public Ministry (for more information on United’s Center for Public Ministry, go here):

neXus Project Update - Aaron Laurer

For the past 8 months a group of faith leaders from the Twin Cities have been gathering at a Faith Table to advance the role of religious communities in defeating the anti-marriage amendment on the 2012 Minnesota ballot. The group is ecumenical and interfaith, with representatives from 8 different Christian denominations as well as Jews, Unitarian-Universalists, and the Pagan-Wiccan communities.

Aaron Lauer, UTS grad and research associate with the Center is serving as liaison to the faith "table" sees it this way, "The work of defeating the anti-marriage amendment provides United with two great opportunities for fulfilling its calling in the world. It engages students and the wider campus community in action around a social justice issue that is part of the progressive Christian mission of honoring the loving, committed relationships of same-sex couples. It also engages United in significant ecumenical and interfaith conversations that are the centerpiece of the faith work related to this campaign."

The Center is leveraging the unique resources of United's faculty, students and theological expertise through a variety of avenues:

On November 1, 2011 the Center co-hosted an inter-faith panel with the Schochet Center for LGBT Studies at the U of M

    This spring we are tapping the biblical and theological expertise of Carolyn Pressler, Harry C. Piper Jr. Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Susan K. Ebbers, Dean of the Seminary for a workshop for religious leaders

    5 students are serving amendment related internships, which integrate a unique learning and action experience with United Justice and Peace Concentration requirements.

So far, the group has hosted organizing events, storytelling trainings, and panel discussions. It has also coordinated the work of individual faith traditions and denominations in energizing their own communities to "Vote No" on the amendment. The Center for Public Ministry is working with the representatives from the table to organize interns, assist in resource development, and provide leadership and volunteers for special events. When fall comes, the table will begin working to "get out the vote" in congregations across the state.

Lobby Day - March 29

OutFront Minnesota and Minnesotans United for All Families invite you to unite for a day of training and action to defeat the amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples and equip ourselves with new skills to take back to our communities to move Minnesota forward for LGBT equality.
 
Make a commitment for Minnesota families

Take the day and come to Saint Paul to organize, plan, and win with OutFront Minnesota and Minnesotans United for All Families. Bring your friends, family, or coworkers. Thank your legislators or hold them accountable for the votes they took. Build your skills to take the campaign to your neighborhood and galvanize our state into action to defeat the amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples. Register

 Worship Of Light and Hope: A Multi-Faith Worship Service - March 29

Join an Interfaith gathering to connect faith communities through reflection, song and spirit. People of every faith, religion, and spiritual tradition are invited to take time for healing, honoring, and moving forward together. Everyone is welcome as we work and worship together for marriage equality in Minnesota! 

Time: 4:30 Light refreshments; 5:30-6:30 Interfaith worship service
Location: Mount Zion Temple, 1300 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Faith Leaders Training - March 30
 
The Center for Public Ministry at United Theological Seminary will host a Faith Leaders Training for denominational team leaders about mobilizing their congregations to work against the anti-marriage amendment. The day of trainings will focus on building core organizing teams, storytelling training, and outreach strategies. 

Staff Profile

Cecilia is a third-year M.Div. student at UTS with concentrations in Pastoral Care & Counseling and Justice & Peace Studies. Cecilia is an active member of campus life and serves as student body moderator. She chose to attend UTS because of the seminary's commitments to justice and peace. "The Center for Public Ministry is one of the most cutting- edge things happening at UTS," she says. Cecilia is grateful to work as a Program Associate for the Center, where she studies what makes public ministry successful and how to equip seminaries and local churches to be powerful forces for social justice. Cecilia is active in the campaign against the Anti-Marraige Amendment in MN. She serves as the Minister for Children and Youth at Linden Hills United Church of Christ and is a member in discernment of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ.

neXus Project 

You are invited to a conversation. Over the last months as the Occupy Movement has taken shape and altered our thinking and acting, many of us in the faith community have wondered how best to respond. Participate in the actions?  Add our prophetic voices in preaching?  In small groups and structured organizations we've pondered, prayed, and acted.  A group going by the name, OccupyFaith, has been pondering all of this, too. We invite you to include your voice and perspective in the conversation. 

 What:  Join us for small group conversation about how we act faithfully in this moment. How does the Occupy Movement bring visibility to economic justice and injustice?  How have you or your congregation responded?  How do our traditions and theology speak with and to the Occupy Movement? How do we engage our members who are part of the 1%?  Or those who are part of the 99?  What is our calling to each of these groups?

 When:  Thursday, March 15, 9am-10:30am. 

 Where:  SpringHouse Ministry Center (home of Salem Lutheran, Lyndale UCC, and First Christian) at 610 W. 28th Street in south Minneapolis (parking available in the lot) near 28th Street and Lyndale Ave. S.

Who:  Clergy and Professional Faith Leaders--please spread this invitation to your circle (and beyond) of colleagues who may be interested and in need of conversation partners.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

16-year-old Jessica Sanchez - I Will Always Love You - American Idol 2012 (video)


Photo courtesy of ktvu.com.
Take a break this morning and watch this video of 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez’s astonishing performance on American Idol as she sings I Will Always Love You. One of the judges told the talented teenager: “You just brought 40 million people to tears.”



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Super Tuesday results: Romney wins my home state of Ohio

Update: Wed. a.m.: I confess I didn't lie awake last night anxious to hear the results of the GOP primary on Super Tuesday. And I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see that Romney won in my home state of Ohio. I had feared Ohio would go all out to embrace the ultraconservative Santorum.  I was disappointed, though, to learn of the defeat of  Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio's newly created ninth district. Kuncinich lost to Democrat Mary Kaptur.

In addition to Ohio, Romney's wins also included Va., Mass., Idaho,Vt., and Alaska.


Update: Santorum adds North Dakota to his column. Ohio remains too close to call. Brian Williams at NBC said we won't know the winner in the Buckeye State until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.


Santorum wins Oklahoma and Tennessee;

Romney wins Mass., Vermont, and Virginia.

Gingrich wins his home state of Georgia.

So far Santorum is leading Romney in Ohio 38.7% to 36%.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stop corporatist Democrats from cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits!


Surprise, surprise! Corporatist Dems are once again joining with their Tea Party brethren to sabotage the self-funded Social Security program, as well as Medicare, and Medicaid, which they and the corporate-owned media refer to condescendingly as “entitlements.” 

Never will they admit that it’s the one percent in America who are truly the “entitled.”

I signed the petition below, and I’m hoping Katalusis readers will take this opportunity to protest yet another brutal attempt to destroy the safety net of the elderly and the poor.

 
Dear Virginia,
The corporatist wing of the Democratic Party once again has its sights set on cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits under the guise of deficit reduction. And our friends on Capitol Hill tell us House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is leading the charge.
Last November CREDO activists helped stop Senate Democrats from agreeing to a terrible Super Committee deal, which would have resulted in deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits in exchange for promised but unspecified tax increases that may have never materialized.
But now House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a prominent member of Democratic Leadership in Congress, is once again pushing a similar legislative proposal that would sell out our social safety net. He is working on a potential backroom deal to put the cuts we defeated last year back on the table.
According to recent reports, Rep. Hoyer is "looking to shake legislative politics"1 by forcing a vote on what the Washington Post called "a so-called grand bargain to raise taxes and restrain entitlement spending."2
Hoyer declined to provide any specifics to this proposal but he gave his remarks at an event hosted by an organization called Third Way, which is a Washington-based, so-called "moderate" Democratic think tank that shills for corporate interests and has previously advanced debunked arguments promoting cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.3
Hoyer's move — which appears to be in coordination with Third Way — poses a danger to our social safety net. We cannot remain quiet while such a prominent member of Democratic Leadership appears to be working on a proposal which likely includes brutal cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits.
Medicare and Social Security are wildly popular programs, and the clear majority of Americans want to protect these benefits. If we push back hard and make sure that conservative Democrats like Hoyer don't cut a back room deal on benefit cuts with Republicans, we can hold the line and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
House Democrats will be particularly sensitive to this kind of pressure in an election year — if we can expose this potential sell out, we can quash the momentum Hoyer and conservative Democrats need to move forward with a "grand bargain" at the expense of benefit programs pivotal to millions of Americans.
To be clear, we are not against sensible reforms to these programs. But we shouldn't be cutting benefits for our seniors and other vulnerable Americans in order to spend more on our bloated military or keep taxes low for the ultra-wealthy.
If Democratic Leaders such as Hoyer are serious about addressing our nation's debt and deficit, they should work to address the biggest drivers of our debt — the Bush tax cuts, foreign wars and our economic downturn.4
Sign our petition today and let House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer know that we are watching and we will not stand for any back room deal that puts cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits on the table. Click below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets