House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been leading the Democratic charge for protecting Medicare . Earlier in the week in an interview with ABC she made it clear: benefit cuts “absolutely” off the table :
Pelosi said that cuts to seniors' benefits are "absolutely" off the table in the ongoing deficit reduction negotiations, but suggested that Congress could improve Medicare by working to eliminate fraud and also by giving the Secretary of Health and Human Services unilateral authority to negotiate for lower prices for the endangered entitlement program.
"When you talk about Medicare, the first thing I would do if I ruled the world would be to allow the secretary of HHS to negotiate for lower prices. That would save tens of billions of dollars," Pelosi said. "The last place we need to go—we don't ever have to go there—is to what the Republicans are doing: Eliminate Medicare [and] make seniors pay more for less as you give tax breaks to big oil and say that's how we have to reduce the deficit. We don't subscribe to that."
On Friday, Leader Pelosi was joined by two key Democratic Senators from the other side of the Hill. Senators Tom Harkin and Jack Reed also fired at the Republicans with the same message: Take Medicare off the table!
"Our message," Harkin said, "is simply: Take Medicare off the table. Let's solve the default crisis. And let's talk about fixing the system so that our middle class has a little bit better shape."
"Medicare is such a complicated, complex topic," Reed said. "To do it right, this is not the proper arena for that kind of debate."
Give Democrats a lot of credit here for being totally in sync with each other. This is happening at the same time when President Barack Obama is pledging to stay firm against extension of Bush tax cuts (hope he can hold the line this time). As everyone knows by now the job numbers came out today which should serve as a “wake-up call” for all elected officials in DC. These guys need to drop their obsession with austerity and get back to what really matters to all of us: creating jobs in our communities.
Good to see at least number of prominent Democrats stepping up and not falling for the hostage taking shenanigans of Congressional Republicans. Let’s hope they stay firm. This is not the time to blink.