WASHINGTON -- Massachusetts Senate candidate Rep. Ed Markey is the latest Democrat facing an election to oppose President Barack Obama's proposed cuts to Social Security.
Markey urged supporters in an email Tuesday to sign a petition his campaign has launched opposing chained CPI, a proposal in the president's fiscal year 2014 budget that would reduce the cost-of-living adjustment related to senior and veterans benefits. Obama included the proposal as a compromise offer to Republicans, but Markey told supporters he disagreed with the tactic. The petition in Markey's email redirects to a fundraising page.
"Democrats won huge victories in 2012. We reelected President Obama. We held the Senate and made gains in the House," he said in the email. "We don't need to roll over to the right wing when it comes to budget choices."
Markey will face off against Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez later this year to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry. Although Massachusetts is a historically left-leaning state, Markey's effort to distance himself from chained CPI puts him in line with a growing list of Senate Democrats running for reelection who have made similar moves in recent weeks.
As HuffPost reported Monday:
Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), all running in states won by Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, have publicly opposed the president's effort, going so far as to co-sponsor a Senate resolution against chained CPI last week. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), running in bluer states, also co-sponsored the resolution.
"Adequate annual Cost of Living Adjustments are critical for the millions of Americans who rely on these benefits to make ends meet," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who introduced the resolution, said in a statement. "The truth is that the way we currently calculate COLAs is already inadequate to keep up with rising medical costs. The Chained CPI would take us even further in the wrong direction by directly cutting benefits for millions of Americans. This resolution expresses our steadfast opposition to doing so."
Other Senate Democrats up for reelection who didn't sign the resolution were still unfavorably disposed toward chained CPI. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) opposes the cost-of-living cut, her office confirmed to HuffPost, and has said Social Security should be off the table in debt talks.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the only Massachusetts senator serving a full term, also co-sponsored the Harkin resolution against chained CPI. Markey was part of a similar resolution rejecting the measure in the House of Representatives last month.
Read Markey's full email below:
The President released a budget that would cut Social Security benefits for retired Americans by adopting something called a Chained CPI.
It's a complicated-sounding name that boils down to this: Social Security benefits for seniors would be cut. You could think of "CPI" as meaning "Cutting Peoples' Income."
This is a wrong-headed move. Too many seniors -- almost two-thirds, in fact -- rely on Social Security for at least half of their income. Budgeting requires compromise, but we cannot compromise by cutting Social Security.
Join me in telling President Obama: No cuts to Social Security. Add your name right now.
Democrats won huge victories in 2012. We reelected President Obama. We held the Senate and made gains in the House. We don't need to roll over to the right wing when it comes to budget choices.
There's plenty in the President's budget I agree with. But Chained CPI is just a bad idea. Investing in clean energy, education, and infrastructure should not come with the price tag of going back on America's promise to our seniors.
Tea Party Republicans may have pushed the President into making tough decisions. But that doesn't mean that this budget is right or fair for the most vulnerable among us.
The President needs to protect Social Security. Add your name to mine and thousands of other grassroots supporters. Tell the President: No Chained CPI. No Social Security cuts. No exceptions.
Thank you for your support.