Dem Bites Dem

Former Sen. Russ Feingold hits Dem Leader Pelosi for being insufficiently leftwing


Politico reports on a possible civil war brewing within the Democratic Party:

Former Sen. Russ Feingold is going after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for what he calls “a disturbing potential willingness to adopt a plan that could slash” Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.

In an email to supporters of his group, Progressives United, Feingold — the Democrat who lost his Wisconsin Senate seat in 2010 — said Pelosi is the latest in a growing trend of Democrats who are wavering on defending Medicare. He even hints at a comparison of Pelosi with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Feingold’s email comes after Pelosi said last month that she would have voted for the so-called Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan, which critics say would hurt Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. She said voting for Simpson-Bowles would be “not even a controversial vote.”

Pelosi fired back on Twitter, writing: “I’ve spent my career protecting Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid from GOP attacks—nothing’s changed, I will continue fighting.”

Feingold’s criticism is odd given some of Pelosi’s past statements regarding Medicare. For instance, she proudly told left-wing blogger Greg Sargent last year that House Democrats have no plan to reform the entitlement program that is the primary driver of the national debt.

“We have a plan,” she said. “It’s called Medicare.”

As for Simpson-Bowles, many experts have complained that the plan does little to reform entitlement programs, much less “slash” them.

Medicare trustees announced last month that, absent reform, the program will run out of money by 2024. Social Security is expected to be insolvent by 2035. Under President Obama’s most recent budget proposal, which even Pelosi voted against, the American economy ceases to exist beyond the year 2027.