Senator Cantwell protesting U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan budget proposal

From Publicola:

Photo via Publicola

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was at a retirement home in Seattle on Sunday to protest U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal, which: A) scales back Medicare for seniors by giving seniors a fixed $8,000 voucher rather than guaranteed coverage (Cantwell was joined by American Association of Retired Persons Washington) and B) caps Medicaid for poor people.

Cantwell broke it down to the local level: Five hundred thousand soon-to-be seniors in Washington state would have to pay twice as much for health care (she cites the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office for that stat) and more than 60,000 seniors  would to pay $38 million extra on medication.

In King County, Sen. Cantwell warns, nearly 20,000 seniors would face $9.5 million in higher prescription costs next year.

Both Cantwell and U.S. Sen. Murray (D-WA) and 48 other senators signed a letter to President Obama last week opposing the GOP house plan.

The letter says, in part:

Giving  seniors a voucher of approximately $8,000 … is a reckless and irresponsible way to address the health care needs of older Americans.  And it is an unacceptable means by which to finance tax cuts for those who are earning ten times or more than the retirement income of the average Medicare recipient.

Seniors, who have paid into the system their entire working lives, deserve affordable, secure health coverage upon retirement. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in the first year of the voucher program, out-of-pocket expenses for seniors would double under the Republican plan to more than $12,500 annually.  For seniors on a fixed income, a doubling of out-of-pocket expenses is simply unaffordable, particularly when the average Social Security benefit is only $14,000 per year.

The Republican budget proposal would not keep pace with the rate of inflation for health care, meaning seniors would pay ever higher out-of-pocket costs.

Support the Reid-Sanders Social Security Protection Amendment

We need you to call your Senators and demand that they vote for the Reid-Sanders Social Security Protection Amendment.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) are leading the fight in the Senate to protect Social Security from drastic cuts. The vote will be this week.

Their amendment says:

Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries should not be cut and Social Security should not be privatized as part of any legislation to reduce the Federal deficit.

Call your Senators RIGHT NOW toll-free at 1-866-251-4044. You’ll be given a choice of which of your state’s two senators to be connected with. Call BOTH if you have the time. It only takes a minute each. Tell the person who answers the phone:

I am a voter/constituent living in [your state]. I am calling to tell the Senator:

  • I oppose any cuts to Social Security and
  • I strongly urge them to vote YES on the Reid-Sanders Social Security Protection Amendment.

Please take the time for this very important effort today. This is for all of us who depend on Social Security. Call Today: 1-866-251-4044.

Good: No mention of Social Security cuts in SOTU. Better: Let’s improve benefits for all.

Yesterday, the Huffington Post, Washington Post and others reported a bit of good news that was confirmed by Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to members of Social Security Works – Washington: President Obama will not endorse raising the retirement age or cutting Social Security benefits in his State of the Union Address.

Your calls, letters and emails played a large part in the President’s decision. Thank you.

However, our work is far from over. It is clear that by even considering proposals to cut Social Security, President Obama is ignoring the simple fact that per federal law, Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. The President is also ignoring any easy fix for the smallest of problems: any projected shortfall in the Social Security Trust Fund (25 years from now) would disappear by simply removing the cap on taxable earnings (currently set at $106,800).

In other words, if everyone were contributing their fair share to Social Security, we could make it stronger for the generations to come by improving benefits for working parents, students, low-income workers, and many others. Bob Herbert, writing for the New York Times, put it well:

Mugging the nation’s grandparents by depriving them of some of their modest, hard-earned Social Security retirement benefits is hardly an answer to the nation’s ills. And, believe me, those benefits are modest. The average benefit is just $14,000 a year, which is less than the minimum wage would pay. With employer-provided pensions going the way of the typewriter and pay telephones, the income from Social Security is becoming more precious by the day.

Read more of Bob Herbert’s column here: Raising False Alarms »

36th District Dems pass resolution to strengthen and defend Social Security

The 36th District Democrats in Washington state have passed a new resolution requesting the support of Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, and Washington’s Congressional delegation, to strengthen and defend Social Security. From the text of the resolution:

The 36th District Democratic Organization of Washington State requests the President of the United States, United States Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and our Congressional delegation:

  • defend current Social Security benefits;
  • increase Social Security benefits;
  • finance these increased benefits by removing the cap on income taxable for employer and employee contributions to Social Security, thereby enabling the most well-off people in the United States to help fund Social Security.

Other local legislative district organizations should free free to use this resolution as a template for their own. Contact Social Security Works – Washington with any questions.

Call your Senator today, and tell them: No cuts to Social Security!

The Co-Chairs of the National Fiscal Commission have proposed deep cuts to Social Security –  increasing the retirement age to 69, cutting benefits for middle-class workers and reducing annual cost of living adjustments. We need your help to stop them!

Join today’s National Call Congress Day at 1-866-529-7630 and tell Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to say “No” to cutting Social Security.

Social Security is a promise that must not be broken – Americans have worked hard for it and paid taxes for it. Social Security belongs to our children, our parents, our neighbors and ourselves. And it hasn’t contributed one penny to our nation’s deficit.

ACT NOW! Your voice needs to be heard.

Call your Senators right now at 1-866-529-7630. After providing your zip code you’ll be given a choice of which of senator to be connected with. Call both if you have the time. It only takes a minute each.

Tell the person who answers the phone: “I am a voter/constituent living in [your state]. I am calling to tell the Senator – no to Social Security benefit cuts, no to increasing the retirement age. In other words, hands off Social Security.”

Please take the time for this very important effort today. This is for you, your children and your grandchildren. Don’t let politicians in Washington cut our Social Security. Act today!