Debt battle comes to Buerkle's door - What will happen to Social Security?

Protestors gather outside of the Federal Building in Syracuse Wednesday. / photo: Andy Wolf

Should Medicare and Social Security cuts be part of the talks in Washington over raising the debt ceiling?

Representatives of the American Association of Retired Persons delivered petitions to the Syracuse offices of Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle on Wednesday. The petitions urge her to "not cut Social Security benefits as part of any deal to reduce the nation's deficit," according to the AARP news release handed out in front of the Federal building in Syracuse. The AARP said 3,500 Central New York residents signed the petitions either online or in person.

The AARP points out there are 116,000 Medicare beneficiaries and 136,149 Social Security recipients in the 25th Congressional District. The organization claims half of older Americans rely on Social Security for at least 50% of their family income.

Buerkle spokesperson, Liza Lowery, says the Congresswoman's "Ongoing stance is we need to do what we can to make sure we preserve these programs for future generations." Lowery pointed out that Medicard and Social Security are "poised to be bankrupt" in future years.

Contacted by phone at her offices in Washington, Buerkle told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that she was "angry" that the AARP was spreading misinformation and "scaring seniors" about the current talks about raising the debt limit. Buerkle says leaders are only discussing cuts to discretionary spending which would not affect Medicare or Social Security.

Many Social Security recipients are on edge after President Barack Obama said on July 12th , "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved" the disagreement over raising the nation's debt limit.

House Speaker John Boehner was forced Tuesday night to postpone a vote on his plan to cut spending as part of a proposal to raise the debt limit. Some members of his own party are upset that his proposal does not contain deeper spending cuts. Some Tea Party-backed conservatives are demanding deeper spending cuts to accompany an almost $1 trillion increase in the government's borrowing cap.

The White House promised to veto Boehner's measure.

The President and Congress have until next Tuesday to come to an agreement or the government could default on U.S. Loans and obligations, including $23 billion worth of Social Security payments due August 3rd.

What do you think of the battle over the debt ceiling? What is your message to Congresswoman Buerkle? Leave your comments below.