Whitehouse Introduces Resolution to Defend Social Security and Medicare
RI Senator Says Benefit Cuts Have No Place in Debt Talks
Washington, DC – Amid reports that cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits may be included in a broader deficit reduction deal, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today introduced a resolution to defend these vital programs. The measure, cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), would express the Sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should not include cuts to Social Security or Medicare benefits.
“While we should always be open to improving these vital programs, we must not cut the benefits our seniors and disabled Americans have earned and rely upon,” said Whitehouse. “And so I hope that my colleagues will join me on this resolution to protect the promise we have made to our Nation’s seniors through Social Security and Medicare.”
“We all want to leave this nation’s fiscal house in good order for our children and grandchildren. We can and must do so in a way that is fair to their grandparents as well,” said Brown.
“We must find a path forward that creates jobs now, strengthens our economy for the long-term and reduces the deficit without putting the burden on our seniors or middle class families. American families have been hit hard enough by this recession without undermining Social Security and Medicare. We can fix our economy, including lowering our deficits, without breaking the promise we have made to all Americans, and preserve these hard-earned benefits for current and future generations,” said Merkley.
“Social Security and Medicare provide a safety net for families all over Minnesota and allow our retirees to age with dignity,” said Franken. “Trying to reduce the deficit by cutting vital programs like these is irresponsible and illogical and I'll fight any cuts to the benefits Minnesotans depend on."
“We must keep faith with the millions of Americans who have paid and earned Social Security and Medicare benefits. At a time when people in Connecticut and across the country continue to struggle in this difficult economy, these critically important programs should not be in peril as part of negotiations on the debt ceiling,” said Blumenthal. “We must cut the deficit and debt and put our fiscal house in order, but we cannot violate sacred promises we have made to our most vulnerable citizens.”
The text of Whitehouse’s resolution is below.
Title: Expressing the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should not include cuts to Social Security benefits or Medicare benefits.
Whereas over 34,000,000 retired workers currently receive Social Security benefits in amounts that average a modest $14,100 a year;
Whereas, in 2008, 23 percent of retired workers receiving Social Security benefits depended on those benefits for all or almost all of their income;
Whereas according to AARP, Social Security benefits kept 36 percent of seniors out of poverty in 2008;
Whereas reducing Social Security benefits would cause many seniors to have to choose between food, drugs, rent, and heat;
Whereas 95 percent of seniors in the United States, who numbered almost 37,000,000 in 2008, got their health care coverage through the Medicare program;
Whereas without Medicare benefits, seniors, many of whom live off of Social Security benefits, would have to turn to the costly and uncertain private market for health care coverage;
Whereas the Social Security program and the Medicare program are extremely successful social insurance programs that permit seniors in America to retire with dignity and security after a lifetime of hard work; and
Whereas the Social Security program and the Medicare program help relieve young American families from worry about their own futures, allowing freedom of opportunity in America: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should not include cuts to Social Security benefits or Medicare benefits.
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