WASHINGTON (AP) -- Liberal lawmakers from both chambers of Congress and a coalition of like-minded groups rallied outside the White House on Tuesday, voicing frustration at the Democratic president they say has let them down by proposing cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Organizers from more than 15 groups stacked nine file boxes in front of the White House that they said contained more than 2 million signatures on petitions urging Obama to reverse course on cuts included in the budget he will unveil Wednesday. Many of the groups, including the AFL-CIO and the National Organization for Women, played an active role in fueling Obama's re-election last year.
Rep. Mark Pocan, a freshman Democrat from Wisconsin, said cuts to the program are an affront to the nation's moral promise. And Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent allied with Democrats, offered a bleak warning to any lawmakers who support the measure.
"If they vote to cut Social Security, they may not be returning to Washington," Sanders told about 100 people who gathered with signs that read "No Chained CPI" and "We earned our Social Security."
Chained CPI is Washington-speak for an inflation adjustment — included in Obama's forthcoming budget — that would reduce cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries. Obama is also proposing $305 billion in cuts to Medicare over a decade as part of a deficit-reduction measure he says he'll only agree to if Republicans agree to tax increases.
The White House says Obama's budget isn't ideal, but represents a compromise aimed at finding a bipartisan solution to the nation's budget challenges.