Reid, Senate Dems oppose Social Security cuts in debt deal

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs MORE (D-Nev.) and 28 other members of the 53-member Senate Democratic caucus have signed a letter opposing any cuts to Social Security as part of a deficit reduction package.

The letter forms a significant marker as Congress looks toward a possible deficit bargain in the lame-duck session after the election. It says Social Security has problems down the road, but that they should be dealt with separately from any budget deal.

ADVERTISEMENT
Cuts to Social Security and other entitlements are seen as key to getting the bipartisan cooperation of Republicans in any deal, just as revenue increases are key for Democrats.

The Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan produced by President Obama's deficit commission contained Social Security cuts, including a change in the way inflation is calculated and an increase in the retirement age.

The letter could reduce the chances for a long-term, multi-trillion-dollar deal soon. Congress will need to put some kind of deal in place before January to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of indiscriminate spending cuts and tax increases.

The Senate's number three Democrat, Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerThis week: Trump makes first address to Congress Dean: Schumer's endorsement 'kiss of death' for Ellison How the candidates for DNC chair stack up ahead of Saturday's vote MORE (D-N.Y.), also signed the letter. Notably, Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Ill.), who supported Bowles-Simpson, did not.

The letter was organized by Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJudd Gregg: The self-marginalizing minority Sanders and Bill Nye to host climate change conversation Lewandowski: Perez ‘doesn’t understand what’s going on in America’ MORE (I-Vt.), Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE (D-Alaska), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseFive takeaways from the Scott Pruitt emails A guide to the committees: Senate Pruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault MORE (D-R.I.) and Al FrankenAl FrankenEducation's DeVos, unions need to find way to bridge divide and work together DeVos: 'My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media' Kentucky Dem lawmaker questions Trump's mental health MORE (D-Minn.).

"To be sure, Social Security has its own long-term challenges that will need to be addressed in the decades ahead. But the budget and Social Security are separate, and should be considered separately," the letter states.

Sens. Jack ReedJack ReedA guide to the committees: Senate Cruz: Supreme Court 'likely' to uphold Trump order Schumer: Trump should see 'handwriting on the wall,' drop order MORE (D-R.I.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions MORE (D-Ohio), Ron WydenRon WydenMnuchin aiming for tax reform by August Dems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive IPAB’s Medicare cuts will threaten seniors’ access to care MORE (D-Ore.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyDem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate Verizon angling to lower price of Yahoo purchase: report MORE (D-Vt.), Ben CardinBen CardinDem senator: Don't let leaks distract from real issue of Russian interference Washington-area lawmakers request GAO report on DC Metro Warren wants briefing on probe into Trump ally MORE (D-Md.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowA guide to the committees: Senate Trump's pick to lead Medicare won't say if she supports negotiating prices with drug companies Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments MORE (D-Mich.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalLast chance to improve Afghanistan’s fledgling Air Force? Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (D-Conn.), Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (D-Iowa), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (D-Ore.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiMikulski on Warren flap: Different rules apply to women It's not just Trump's Cabinet but Congress lacks diversity The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Md.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWho is labor pick Alexander Acosta? A guide to the committees: Senate Overnight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit MORE (D-Wash.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCarly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report 
Democrats vie for chance to take on Trump as California governor MORE (D-Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria CantwellA guide to the committees: Senate Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule Nine Dem senators say hiring freeze hurting trade enforcement MORE (D-Wash.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (D-S.D.), John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Tom UdallTom UdallDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks A guide to the committees: Senate Senate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement MORE (D-N.M.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.), Carl LevinCarl LevinA package proposal for repatriation Silencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate GOP going nuclear over Gorsuch might destroy filibuster forever MORE (D-Mich.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Sanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero Dem senator predicts Gorsuch will be confirmed MORE (D-N.Y.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE III (D-W.Va.) also signed on. 

The letter was hailed by some groups representing senior citizens.

“Unlike Governor Mitt Romney, the senators who signed this letter understand that Social Security is earned through hard work and contributions; it is not a government handout," said Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works.