Labor unions are pressuring moderate Democrats to stand firm against Medicare cuts, as the “fiscal cliff” negotiations continue with no apparent resolution in sight.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are targeting Democratic senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri with ads imploring seniors to tell the lawmakers, “don’t make a bad deal that cuts our care.”
The ad targeting McCaskill is below; the nearly identical Warner version can be seen here.
According to The Hill, the ads will run for about a week starting Friday.
Although Democrats appear to hold all the leverage in the budget negotiations, the ad campaign reflects the left’s concern that Senate Democrats may make serious cuts to Medicare or Social Security in order to expedite a deal. Liberal Illinois senator Dick Durbin stoked those fears during a Thursday night interview with Bloomberg.
Republicans “want something to put up on the wall and say, ‘OK, we gave on taxes, they gave on'” Medicare cuts, the Democratic Whip said. “We may end up facing it as the only way out of this.”
House Speaker John Boehner’s most recent budget offer includes at least $600 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid; President Obama swiftly rejected the proposal, saying that he would not accept Boehner’s exceedingly vague promises to raise revenue “in exchange for some very specific and tough entitlement cuts that would affect seniors or other folks who are vulnerable.” The negotiations have stagnated since then; according to Boehner’s Friday morning press conference, “no progress” has been made in the past week.