Wednesday July 13, 2011 | 05:17 PM

Rep. Chellie Pingree says it is time to reach an agreement on raising the debt ceiling, the Maine Democrat from the 1st district wants Social Security and Medicare benefits off the table.

Pingree echoed President Obama's contention that Social Security benefits are at risk in August if the nation defaults on its obligations Aug. 2, but doesn't agree with her fellow Democrat in the White House that Social Security and Medicare should be considered for cuts along with other areas of the federal budget. Pingree does agree with Obama that new revenues are needed as part of the deal, and that ending Bush era tax cuts for households making more than $250,000 should be part of the deal.

"The time has come to reach a deal on the debt ceiling--the country has had enough uncertainty," Pingree said. " Seniors are sick with worry that they won't have a Social Security benefit next month."

But, "benefits for recipients of Social Security and Medicare should be off the table," Pingree said. These are benefits people have worked for years to earn and we shouldn't break our promise to them. It's unthinkable that we would consider balancing the budget on their backs rather than having the country's wealthiest pay their fair share." 


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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