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Pelosi Boosts Pomeroy and His Social Security Bill

Updated: 11:19 a.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave endangered Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) some needed firepower on the campaign trail, saying that she has asked the Ways and Means Committee to bring his Seniors Protection Act to the floor during the lame-duck session.

“The Seniors Protection Act, introduced by subcommittee Chairman Earl Pomeroy, provides America’s seniors and all Social Security recipients with a one-time payment that will help millions make ends meet during these difficult economic times,” the California Democrat said in a statement Thursday. “In the event that the Social Security Administration announces it will not provide a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for recipients this year, the House will vote to provide seniors with a one-time payment of $250.”

Friday morning, the Social Security Administration announced there would be no cost-of-living increase for seniors in 2011.

Pelosi also said, “all Members of Congress should join us in supporting this legislation which will be fiscally responsible and upholds our bedrock promise of economic security for our nation’s seniors.”

Pomeroy, who is in a tight re-election campaign, has tried to make the case to North Dakotans that his seniority is important for keeping their best interests atop the Congressional agenda.

Pelosi’s outreach comes as Pomeroy has tried to distance himself from the Democratic Party over the last couple of weeks. In September, Pomeroy told Roll Call that he didn’t expect Pelosi or any other member of the Democratic leadership to stump for him on the campaign trail. He has also recently run campaign ads touting his support of President George W. Bush’s Medicare prescription drug bill.

The White House on Friday echoed Pelosi’s call for the COLA payment.

“The President will renew his call for a $250 Economic Recovery Payment to our seniors this year, as well as to veterans and people with disabilities,” spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “We’re grateful that Speaker Pelosi has indicated she will bring the new Economic Recovery Payment to a vote and we urge members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to support our seniors, veterans and others with disabilities who depend on these benefits.”

House Republicans pushed back on Democrats’ timing.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) spokesman Michael Steel questioned why Democrats didn’t put this to a vote before adjourning in September.

“If this is really a priority for the President and Washington Democrats, why didn’t the Speaker bring it up for a vote before she adjourned the House?” Steel said in a statement. “If they aren’t planning to bring Congress back, by their own logic, isn’t it clear that they care more about campaigning to keep their job than America’s seniors?”

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