In a statement later that evening, Schiff expressed solidarity with the demonstrators.
"Social Security and Medicare did not create these large deficits and debt, and I do not believe we should balance our budget on the backs of seniors, particularly those in need of medical care,” he said.
Schiff, who supports plans to preserve Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class while letting tax cuts for wealthier Americans expire, joined other Democrats in pledging to oppose cuts to Social Security in a statement delivered to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday.
Members of the group Occupy Democracy Pasadena organized the rally, also attended by retirees affiliated with local labor unions.
Occupy Democracy Pasadena previously has held demonstrations calling for more strict regulations on mortgage lenders and limits on political spending by corporations.
“My life depends on Social Security and Medicare. If they’re cut, my life is cut,” said Suzanne Winters, 68. The Atwater Village resident said she has relied on disability payments since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder six years ago.
Under legislative redistricting that takes effect next year, Schiff will no longer represent most of Pasadena. He will gain several Hollywood and Los Angeles neighborhoods next year.
Retired Los Angeles teacher Rosemary Lee, 66, said Social Security and Medicare are “not entitlements” but benefits earned through payroll taxes.
Congress should instead cut back wartime military spending that has driven up national deficits, said retired union negotiator Paul Krehbiel, 64, of Pasadena.
“There are other ways to find money in Washington than to take from retirees and the disabled,” said Pasadena resident Cecilia C. Center, 77, a retired Los Angeles County probation officer.
Monday’s event was more ideological nudge than protest, said Occupy Democracy Pasadena organizer Maddie Gavel-Briggs.
“We’re here to remind Schiff to stand tall when it comes to the hysteria over the so-called fiscal cliff. Social Security and Medicare are the backbone of the poor and the middle class,” she said.
-- Joe Piasecki, Times Community News