Senate Democrats

Reid Spokesman: We Should Reduce Spending By Cutting Waste And Excess, Not By Undermining Social Security

Washington, D.C. – Jon Summers, spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, released the following statement in response to Republicans rejecting common-sense measures for reducing spending at the same time that they push for extreme measures like undermining Social Security:

“We have to be smart about cutting government spending. Democrats want to reduce spending by cutting waste and excess like government giveaways to oil companies, but Republicans are already pushing extreme measures like privatizing or making deep cuts in Social Security. In the last twenty-four hours, one leading Republican proposed raising the retirement age not once, but ‘every several years.’ And Fox News is reporting that Social Security is next up on Sen. Rand Paul’s chopping block, right after aid to Israel.

“At the same time that Republicans are threatening to undermine Social Security, they are defending $20 billion in government giveaways to oil companies that are raking in record profits, arguing that these handouts should be off the table when it comes to spending cuts. Democrats believe Republicans have their priorities backwards. We should be getting spending under control by cutting waste and excess, while protecting benefits like Social Security that Americans have earned, and that support our economy.”

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Shelby, Raise the Retirement Age “Every Several Years.”   During a speech at the Institute of Education Shelby said he supported raising the retirement age to for Social Security and continuing to raise it every few years.  Shelby said that is preferred solution for the program would be to “up the age every several years.”  [Huffington Post, 2/8/11]

·         Raising the Retirement Age is a Backdoor Benefit Cut.  “The full retirement age is 66 and will rise to 67 for people born in 1960 and later. Raising the retirement age amounts to an across-the-board cut in benefits, regardless of whether a worker files for Social Security before, upon, or after reaching the full retirement age.  A one-year increase in the full retirement age is equivalent to a roughly 7 percent cut in monthly benefits for all retirees who are affected.”  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/11/11]

·         Social Security Benefits Already are Very Modest.  Even while secure pensions are quickly disappearing, the average Social Security benefit is only about $14,000 per year.  This is quite low compared to most other developed countries.   [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/11/11]

Social Security Next Up on Rand Paul’s “Chopping Block.”  Fox News reported,Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is the author of a sweeping bill to cut $500 billion in domestic and defense spending – and Social Security is next up on the chopping block, the Tea Party freshman said Tuesday.  [Fox News, 2/8/10]

·         Paul: Raise The Retirement Age To 70.  In September 2009, Paul said,  “…but the age is probably going to go to 70. And people attack me on that, but I think that’s the demographics of it. We’re short of money we are short of money people are living longer.” [WYMT, 9/29/09]

Congressional Budget Office: “Roadmap” Will Privatize Social Security.  The CBO wrote in a letter to Ryan about his roadmap, “A system of individual accounts would be established in 2012. In that year, workers who are age 55 or younger would be able to participate in voluntary individual accounts, funded with a portion of their payroll taxes.” [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

·         Senator Sessions Agrees With Ryan’s Roadmap. “Ryan has done a fabulous thing. He’s developed a plan that goes 60 years, and he deals with Social Security and Medicare… his whole plan and approach is fabulous, we need to be listening to it.” [ABC’s Topline, 1/24/11]

·         Majority Leader Cantor Says To Embrace Roadmap.  “…I just told you that we put a chapter in our book about it because the direction in which the Roadmap goes is something we need, we need to embrace.” [Meet The Press, 1/23/11]

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