By Alexander Bolton - 05/24/11 03:14 PM EDT
The liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org is pressuring Democratic negotiators to take a hard line against proposed cuts to Medicare in talks to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
MoveOn.org has asked its members to flood the offices of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) with calls demanding they resist Medicare cuts.
“The Republicans have made their agenda crystal clear — they want to end Medicare as we know it. It is now up to Democrats to take a strong stand and take Medicare cuts off the table,” said MoveOn director Justin Ruben.
“Over the next few weeks we will continue to escalate our campaign targeting Democrats to make sure they don't let Republicans off the hook for their attacks on Medicare,” Ruben said.
The negotiators working on the debt-limit impasse are scheduled to meet again Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in a room off the Senate chamber. Vice President Joe Biden is leading the talks.
Republicans have taken a hard line against tax increases heading into the talks.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has ruled out linking tax increases and tax-code reform to action on the debt limit.
MoveOn alerted its members in an email Tuesday morning that negotiators would be convening later in the day.
“Can you call Rep. Van Hollen right now and tell him to take Medicare cuts off the table in today's meeting?” the group wrote in one message.
The federal government hit its debt limit last week and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has begun to maneuver accounts to avert a national default.
Treasury officials estimate that Congress must approve an increase in the debt limit by Aug. 2 to avoid an eventual default.