Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

Obama Budget Puts OFA on the Spot

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal to trim Social Security benefits has intensified liberal angst over his controversial nonprofit advocacy group, Organizing for Action.

OFA’s announcement last week that it had collected just $4.9 million, the vast majority of it from small donors giving $250 or less, may help assuage critics who have cast the group as an unrestricted money magnet. But Obama’s budget proposal to give Social Security recipients smaller cost-of-living increases “puts OFA on a collision course with many of its own grass-roots volunteers,” CQ Weekly reports this week.

“I think this fight over the budget is going to be a real truth-telling moment about Organizing for Action and what it’s going to be,” said Becky Bond, political director of the liberal activist group Credo, which with several progressive groups delivered 2.3 million signatures rejecting the plan to the White House last week. “The people who volunteered to re-elect President Obama overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Social Security.”

The key question for OFA will be whether it becomes a volunteer-driven, bottom-up organization, or a top-down mouthpiece for White House policy. If Obama continues to push for entitlements changes, many Democrats’ disenchantment with OFA will inevitably grow.

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