15 Jul

Progressive Dems threaten Obama over debt ceiling

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The O’Leary: Including me.

(CNN) – The liberal advocacy group Progressive Change Campaign Committee delivered 200,000 pledges to President Obama’s campaign headquarters Friday, demanding he hold their line in debt ceiling negotiations or lose their support.

The group wants a potential agreement to include tax increases on higher income earners instead of cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicaid, the committee’s co-founder Adam Green said Friday. Members of the group said they will not contribute to or volunteer for the president’s reelection campaign unless their conditions are met.

Green said they delivered the pledges, signed by those who supported Obama’s candidacy in the 2008 election, to Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago Friday morning.

“Democrats need to support the will of the American people,” Green said in a conference call with reporters. “Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be off the table.”

“Our position is the middle class has sacrificed enough,” Green added.

He said the signatories donated $17 million and 2.4 million volunteer hours to then-Sen. Obama’s election effort in the 2008 election.

Cuts to entitlement programs are a sticking point in the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations as the White House and Congressional leaders attempt to reach a deal before the government potentially defaults on its obligations August. 2. Republicans reject tax increases and Democrats will only agree to reforms in entitlement programs if wealthy Americans pay more in taxes.

PCCC works to elect progressive candidates to federal offices.

During a press conference Friday, Obama said he was willing to consider changes to entitlement programs for future generations, as long as benefits for current beneficiaries remain intact.

Green said it was the first time Obama left the door open to cuts for those currently receiving benefits and the president cannot expect Democratic voter support in 2012 if he advocates for such cuts.

“Obama voters didn’t come back out in 2010,” Green said. “It’s déjà vu all over again … every Democrat in 2012 has a right to be extremely furious with him.”

Obama’s campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president wants to “strengthen Medicare and Medicaid in the long run and supports finding a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations.”

“Americans elected the President in 2008 to take on the big challenges facing our country, and he’s engaged in an effort to do just that, promoting a balanced approach to reduce the deficit and promote economic growth that protects the middle class and seniors,” LaBolt said.

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