Pelosi vows to protect Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security from cuts

"He said, 'No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that seniors have so carefully put away over a lifetime so they may enjoy dignity in their later years,' " Pelosi said in video broadcast by ABC-13 in Houston. "With the stroke of a pen, he made that transformation, but now in Washington, with the stroke of a law that they hope to pass, there are those who would repeal, would eliminate, those securities."

Pelosi's comments came just days after Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. debt to an "AA+" rating, based in large part on the difficulty Washington has agreeing to cutting entitlement programs. S&P warned that in the event of a failure to make further cuts, as the debt-ceiling agreement requires by the end of this year, a further debt downgrade could occur.

Pelosi and other Democrats have argued that new tax revenue is needed to help resolve the debt crisis. While S&P did cite new tax revenue as a factor that would help, the rating agency said not allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire could still allow the U.S. to avoid another downgrade.

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