Debt Ceiling Update

On Monday, July 25th, the President and Speaker Boehner both addressed the nation about the looming Debt Ceiling deadline and their goals for resolution. They presented two likely options, the Boehner Plan and the Reid Plan. Since then, and thanks in large part to the efforts members have made, Speaker Boehner has had to postpone his vote in the House until tomorrow because he does not have the votes to pass it. Democrats have stuck together and the extreme tea party caucus is refusing to support him.

The Current Boehner Plan: $3 Trillion, all cuts. The Boehner plan calls for large cuts in discretionary programs of $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, and it then requires additional cuts that are large enough to produce another $1.8 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security to be developed and enacted by the end of the year as a condition for raising the debt ceiling again at that time.

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, in order to do this “Policymakers would essentially have three choices: 1) cut Social Security and Medicare benefits heavily for current retirees, something that all budget plans from both parties (including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan) have ruled out; 2) repeal the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions while retaining its measures that cut Medicare payments and raise tax revenues, even though Republicans seek to repeal many of those measures as well; or 3) eviscerate the safety net for low-income children, parents, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. There is no other plausible way to get [to these] entitlement cuts in the next ten years.

The Reid Plan: $2.5 Trillion debt reduction plan, $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade. The Reid plan has less of an immediate impact to entitlements and moves the next debt ceiling vote past the 2012 election.

Both the Boehner and Reid plans establish a “super committee” made up of twelve members of both the House and Senate to decide how to enact cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security going forward and whether or not to raise revenues. The Boehner plan essentially forces acceptance of the proposed cuts by tying them to another vote on the Debt Ceiling. Currently the Reid plan has no such trigger.

SEIU is in the final stretch of this phase of our efforts to protect Healthcare and need your help:

SEIU’s call line to Congress is still active at 1-877-736-7831 and available on After the House vote tomorrow, it will direct all callers to the Senate. The Senate will need to hear more from our members more than ever to vote no on the Boehner plan in order to protect Medicaid and Medicare.

July 29th will be a critical day for defining what happened with the votes in Congress. Even small actions can help define that Speaker Boehner and the Republican tea party caucus have recklessly driven America to the edge of financial meltdown, and demanded a roll back of our social safety net in order to benefit CEO’s and millionaires.

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