POLITICS
04/09/2013 01:21 pm ET Updated Apr 09, 2013

Obama Budget Is A 'Betrayal Of Women': NOW President Terry O'Neill

The National Organization for Women, which has supported the vast majority of President Barack Obama's policies, lashed out at the president Tuesday over a part of his 2014 budget proposal that the group says will diminish Social Security payments to women.

"On Equal Pay Day, the National Organization for Women has a message for Congress: Do not follow President Obama in cheating the women of this country," NOW President Terry O'Neill said in a statement. "The president and the Democratic leadership in Congress may think most voters aren't bright enough to figure out what's going on, but they're flat-out wrong. Voters who helped elect these leaders are now feeling betrayed, as they see supposedly progressive politicians turn their backs on the most vulnerable among us."

NOW, a progressive advocacy group, criticized the president's plan to include a chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the 2014 budget. The chained CPI would reduce Social Security benefits for future recipients by measuring inflation differently and accordingly slowing down the cost-of-living increases for beneficiaries. Obama is reportedly planning to include the cut in his budget proposal on Wednesday as a compromise.

Any cuts to Social Security disproportionately affect women, because women tend to live longer and earn less in their lifetimes than men. Instituting the chained CPI "is like tripping someone at the end of a race," O'Neill said, because it penalizes elderly women who have been unable to save enough money to retire.

"Those who say the chained CPI won't make much of an impact are either hopelessly dense or just plain deceitful," O'Neill said, adding that it exacerbates the gender wage gap on National Equal Pay Day, which Obama declared on Tuesday. "Can this be the same president who proudly signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act back in January of 2009?"

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