Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Question for Nancy Pelosi on Chained CPI

On November 10, 2010, when the preliminary draft of the Simpson-Bowles plan was released, Nancy Pelosi did not mince words in her condemnation of the proposal:
This proposal is simply unacceptable. Any final proposal from the commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren’s economic security as well as for our nation’s fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare. And it must strengthen America’s middle class families–under siege for the last decade, and unable to withstand further encroachment on their economic security.
Her office quickly backtracked, noting that the plan did not meet her standards of job creation, deficit reduction, and Social Security preservation "at this time." 
A year and a half later, she said she supported the same proposal and would be happy to vote for it.
On December 19, 2012, amidst the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, Nancy Pelosi threw her support behind the President's chained CPI proposal (something that had been one of the major points of contention in Simpson-Bowles):
   Q: Members of your Caucus are organizing against the chained CPI that the President has put on the table in negotiations, is that something you can support in any deal at this point? I mean…
    Leader Pelosi. Well, whatever the final arrangement is, we’ll have to have balance. So, we’ll see where that figures. But I’ve said to the Members: “express yourselves.” You know, speak out against, because I’m not thrilled with the President’s proposal, I mean, it is what it is in order to save the day. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll all identify with every aspect of it. So, they go forth with my blessing.
    Q: Do you consider that a benefit cut?
    Leader Pelosi. No, I don’t. I consider it a strengthening of Social Security. But that’s neither here nor there. There’s no use even discussing that because we don’t even know if we have a plan.
Now, this past Thursday, when the White House said that chained CPI would not be in the President's budget--although the White House still supports it in the framework of a "grand bargain"--Pelosi remarked, "Democrats applaud the president for eliminating chained CPI from his budget." 

Minority Leader Pelosi, if chained CPI would "strengthen" Social Security, then why are you and other Democrats applauding its exclusion from the budget? Please explain.

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