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Senior Citizen Politics

Republicans Block $250 for Senior Citizens to Replace Lack of Social Security Hike in 2011

Also other action reduces income to Social Security Trust Fund by $120 billion

Dec. 9, 2010 – Republicans jumped at the chance to allow the richest people in the United States to keep a tax cut that will cost the taxpayers about $70 billion a year, then stomped on efforts to give senior citizens $250 in 2011 to compensate for the lack of a cost-of-living increase in Social Security. Only 26 Republicans joined 228 Democrats in the failed effort in the House to pass H.R. 5987.


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Later the Republicans in the Senate used their usual weapon of stopping debate to halt a vote on the Social Security supplement. Democrats needed seven more votes as their effort failed by a vote of 53-45.

 “… it’s hard for my constituents to believe this country can’t afford to help those who need help the most, when they see billion of dollars of tax benefits going to those who have the most,” said Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.

“Seniors did not cause the near meltdown of the economy that occurred in the last days of the prior Administration, yet too many are still feeling the brunt of its fallout,” said Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), when in introduced the bill in July.

“The failed economic policies of the prior Administration left the nation in such a deep recession that, for the first time since automatic COLAs began in 1975, recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Administration Pension and Disability Compensation, and Railroad Retirement benefits did not receive a COLA in January of this year.

House Vote to Provide Seniors $250 in 2011 Due to No COLA

















“Social Security benefit levels are quite modest--only $14,000 a year for the average retiree. Yet, the median income for senior households is a mere $24,000, reflecting just how much Social Security means to most elderly Americans. Six in ten seniors rely on Social Security for more than half of their income. About a third of retirees have little other than Social Security to live on.”

“The cruel irony of Washington’s priorities continues to hit home for America’s seniors, said Barbara B. Kennelly, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. 

“While Congress and the White House negotiate a tax deal which extends trillions of dollars of tax cuts for wealthy Americans, today we’re told that providing $250 for America’s seniors and their families is considered too generous.

No cost of living increase for two years in a row – no one-time relief for seniors – and promises of benefit cuts ahead.  It’s no wonder so many middle-class seniors’ and their families feel such a disconnect with some in Washington.”

“This legislation is critical to our seniors and is fiscally responsible, but unfortunately, congressional Republicans overwhelmingly chose to oppose it, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after House Republicans refused to support the Seniors Protection Act.

“While Democrats maintain a strong record protecting, upholding, and strengthening Social Security, Republicans continue to advocate risky schemes to privatize it and cut benefits.  America’s seniors deserve better.”

The Associated Press says, “…most Republicans contended that the nation couldn't afford the estimated $14 billion cost of the payment, and that the COLA freezes in 2010 and 2011 come after seniors received a significant boost in 2009.”

Another Hit for Social Security

Social Security, too, took a hit in the Republican led efforts motivated by their desire to maintain the “Bush tax cuts,” which help the wealthiest Americans pay much less in taxes.

In a move to reduce payroll taxes yesterday, the Social Security Trust Fund, already paying out more than in takes in, will lose $120 billion more.

U.S.A. Today reports that although this lost money will be replaced by government IOUS, “…by 2037 the trust fund would lack the assets needed to pay all the benefits promised to Americans 67 and up, requiring an immediate 22% benefit reduction.

"Even though Social Security contributed nothing to the current economic crisis, it has been bartered in a deal that provides deficit-busting tax cuts for the wealthy," said the NCPSSM’s Kennelly.

 "Diverting $120 billion in Social Security contributions for a so-called 'tax holiday' may sound like a good deal for workers now, but it's bad business for the program that a majority of middle-class seniors will rely upon in the future." 

>> Click to roll call vote results showing how each Congressman voted.

>> Click to Associated Press report.


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