Today, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is releasing statements from senators like Elizabeth Warren, House members, gubernatorial candidates and congressional candidates applauding President Barack Obama's endorsement of expanding Social Security benefits on Wednesday. Hillary Clinton just Tweeted support and Bernie Sanders issued a statement as well -- both below.
The PCCC has been a leader in shifting the national debate from cutting Social Security to expanding benefits -- and is happy to talk about the backstory of how this victory happened. As Huffington Post reports, “The president’s support of increasing retirement benefits is a major win for the Democratic Party’s progressive wing.”
STATEMENT FROM SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA):
"This is exactly where the conversation should be. We should be working together to protect and expand Social Security for seniors today and for generations to come. Too many Republicans are still fixated on privatizing Social Security and cutting benefits, but that's simply wrong and Democrats are going to fight back."
STATEMENT FROM PRAMILA JAYAPAL, WA-7 DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:
"Ask any family in Washington State and they will tell you, retirement insecurity for our loved ones is one of the biggest looming challenges we face – as families, as a state, and as a nation, and it’s about time we do something about it.
"That’s why I was thrilled to see President Obama this week express the need to expand Social Security benefits. Social Security is one of the most successful and vital programs our country has ever seen, but we haven’t done what we should to protect and expand it to meet the new demands of our families. Worse, we’ve seen the special interest backed calls to cut or privatize Social Security gain far too much traction. The last thing we should do is what Donald Trump and his ilk suggest - force seniors to hand over what’s left of their retirements after the recession to the same Wall Street Big Banks that put them in the hole to begin with.
"In the State Senate, I worked to make identifying long-term care solutions for Washington’s growing senior population a top priority, and in Congress, I will take on this fight to expand and protect Social Security for generations to come, because programs like Social Security represent the best of American values, the belief that we're all better off when we're all better off."
TWEET TODAY FROM HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
"We can never let Republicans cut or privatize Social Security -- we should protect and expand it. Thanks @POTUS"
STATEMENT FROM SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA):
"After a lifetime of work, people deserve to retire in dignity. Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income, and for 15 million seniors — 15 MILLION — Social Security is the only thing standing between them and poverty. I’m proud that President Obama spoke out Wednesday about protecting and expanding Social Security for millions of people who are struggling to get by.
"For me, this is about whose side you stand on. We have a growing retirement crisis in this country. Democrats recognize that. The President supports expanding Social Security. Nearly every Senate Democrat voted for my budget amendment in support of expanding Social Security. Both Democratic Presidential candidates support expanding Social Security. And the vast majority of Americans support expanding Social Security. Republicans may still be living in the Stone Age of trying to cut benefits, but on Social Security, the American people stand with President Obama and the Democrats to take on the retirement crisis."
STATEMENT FROM REPS. KEITH ELLISON (MN-5) & RAÚL GRIJALVA (AZ-3), CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CO-CHAIRS:
“We thank President Obama for speaking up on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities by calling for an expansion of Social Security benefits. So many Americans rely on these vital, earned benefits that they have secured through a lifetime of hard work. Still, too many seniors struggle to make ends meet. Expanding benefits and scrapping the payroll tax cap, which prevents the wealthy from paying their fair share, is the responsible way to ensure full Social Security solvency in the long-term while protecting today's seniors.
“We applaud the president for reaffirming the importance of Social Security, and we believe his statement shows just how important the progressive movement is in shaping the policies that will drive our country forward.”
STATEMENT FROM REP. ANN KIRKPATRICK (AZ-1), AZ-SEN DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE:
"More and more Arizonans and Americans depend on Social Security after a lifetime of contributing to the system and playing by the rules. It's past time to support our seniors by expanding these benefits and ending the backward calls for cuts to Social Security benefits or even the unthinkable partial or full privatization of the program."
STATEMENT FROM REP. RICK NOLAN (MN-8):
"I commend the President for his stance. The fact is, Social Security is a benefit people pay into and earn from their very first hour of their very first day in the job. We need to expand Social Security and continue to fight the powerful forces determined to privatize it, cut benefits and turn it over to wealthy Wall Street bankers that would use it for their own profit and gain."
STATEMENT FROM REP. JULIA BROWNLEY (CA-26):
"Social Security is an American success story and part of the fabric that safeguards economic security and independence for seniors and the disabled. I agree with President Obama, that we must protect and expand Social Security, not cut benefits to those who need it most."
STATEMENT FROM SUSANNAH RANDOLPH, FL-9 DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:
“Social Security benefits should be expanded -- never cut. In endorsing an expansion of Social Security benefits, President Obama has affirmed what millions of Americans already know: we are stronger as a country when we care for the generations of people who have come before us. We must stand up for our nation’s seniors, defend the benefits they have earned, and ensure that all seniors can live with the dignity they deserve.”
STATEMENT FROM ANGIE CRAIG, MN-2 DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:
"I was proud to see our President embrace the policy of not only protecting, but expanding Social Security. This has been part of my core platform since day one of my campaign. I look forward to working to make this a reality when I get to Congress. Seniors in Minnesota and across the country deserve to be able to retire with dignity."
STATEMENT FROM NANETTE BARRAGAN, CA-44 DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE:
“Here in the South Bay, our community is struggling with homelessness, poverty, and unemployment, which is why it is so vitally important to protect and expand Social Security. Social Security provides many of our seniors with the only financial support they receive. I am so pleased with President Obama’s call to expand Social Security to ensure we are taking care of our retirees now and in the future. His dedication to progressive values continue to move our country forward, and I hope that the Democratic Party Platform in 2016 will follow our President’s lead.”
STATEMENT FROM COLIN VAN OSTERN, NH GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE:
“I applaud President Obama in his call to expand Social Security for hardworking Americans. Here in New Hampshire one in five residents collect Social Security and without this critical program, nearly half of those individuals 65 years or older would have incomes below the poverty level. After years of too many calling to cut Social Security, this is a welcomed direction. Issues like this, and access to debt-free college are the path to a stronger future where everyone has a chance to succeed, not just those at the top.”
STATEMENT FROM STEVEN FULOP, JERSEY CITY MAYOR AND POSSIBLE NJ GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE:
"I applaud President Obama's support for expansion of Social Security benefits. It's obvious that the cost of living has increased in our region and we need action that will make life easier for our seniors. Our retired population should never have to forgo a necessity, such as food or medicine, as a result of cost."
STATEMENT FROM ERIC KINGSON, SOCIAL SECURITY WORKS CO-FOUNDER:
“I applaud President Obama for joining the growing movement in the Democratic Party to expand Social Security -- for today’s seniors, workers, persons with severe disabilities, and for generations to come. With two-thirds of today’s working persons, especially those in their late 40s and 50s, facing a personal retirement income crisis, yes, it’s time to expand benefits. With the Social Security benefits for today’s seniors averaging just $14,000, today’s older Americans need benefit increases, and they need fairer cost-of-living adjustments. With the United States being one of only three nations that do not provide paid maternity benefits at birth or adoption, it’s long past time to add up to 12 weeks paid family and sick leave to our Social Security.
"Hopefully, one day the Republican Party will also come to the realization that in contrast to Republican Speaker Paul Ryan who has long advocated cutting and privatizing Social Security and Medicare Americans -- Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike -- want to see these benefits increased.
"In terms of the Democratic Party, the next step should be for its Platform Committee to declare the Party's full support for expanding, not cutting Social Security and to encourage all Democrats to support this. Expanding Social Security is good policy, good politics, and most importantly, good for the American people."
STATEMENT FROM SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
“I applaud President Obama for making it clear that it is time to expand Social Security benefits. Millions of seniors, disabled veterans and people with disabilities are falling further and further behind on $10,000 or $11,000 a year Social Security.”
STATEMENT FROM ADAM GREEN & STEPHANIE TAYLOR, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE CO-FOUNDERS:
"Progressives led, the people spoke out, and the politicians are now embracing change we can believe in: Expanding Social Security benefits -- never cutting them. This will be a defining issue in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and congressional candidates across the nation are for expanding benefits to keep up with the rising costs faced by our grandparents and veterans. Donald Trump and Republicans oppose increased benefits, and many support cuts."