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The "Fiscal Cliff" Debate

According to Politico, top officials who have been involved in the "fiscal cliff" talks for many months say the parameters of a deal including the size of tax hikes and spending cuts it will most likely contain are starting to take shape. Earlier this week, White House spokesman Jay Carney had said that Social Security is one program that should be addressed on a “separate track,” telling reporters that the country should address the drivers of the deficit, and that Social Security currently is not driving the deficit.

Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) has also urged his colleagues on Capitol Hill to keep Social Security out of the deficit reduction debates consuming the Capitol in the lame duck session. “Social Security does not add one penny to the deficit,” said Mr. Durbin on ABC’s “This Week.” Sen. Durbin also argued that Social Security is not in crisis, and should not be dragged into the debate on the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which concerns other issues entirely. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has long held those views as well.

In contrast, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has told Democrats that Social Security must be on the chopping block for him to vote on any deficit deal. Graham has called for a further increase in the retirement age, as well as means tests to further restrict access to Social Security’s funds. Politico reported on Thursday that House Speaker John Boehner did not answer directly when asked to choose between going over the fiscal cliff or extending tax rates only for those making below $250,000.

“I find the Speaker’s non-answer stunning,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “That is a question that I think Speaker Boehner should be able to answer.”

“Raising the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 remains one of the most frightening prospects as the deficit talks continue,” added Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

The Alliancefor Retired Americans Closing in on Goal of 10,000 Letters to Congress!

Alliance members have already sent more than 7,800 messages to their U.S. Senators and Representatives, urging them to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and oppose any benefit cuts to these programs in deficit reduction legislation. Our goal is 10,000. If you have not sent a letter and would like to, please go to http://bit.ly/TwHHiQ

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