Congressmen Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) recently led the charge for an alternative budget that envisions enacting the proposals of the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs proposal. However, this proposal contained significant cuts to the Social Security benefits that Americans and their families depend on.
More information on how the Bowles-Simpson and Cooper-LaTourette plans would damage Social Security can be found here.
Fortunately, the vote failed in the house, 38-382. But that hasn't stopped Democrats from continuing to push it. Here's what Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said on the occasion of the Cooper-LaTourette Amendment's failure:
“We must continue working to achieve a big and balanced deficit-reduction solution in order to set our country back on a sustainable fiscal path. I continue to believe that the Bowles-Simpson model should be a basis for ongoing discussions in the effort to create the needed consensus,”
- Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, 3/29/2012 http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/218941-hoyer-explains-vote-to-kill-bowles-simpson
Robert Greenstein, Executive Director and James Horney, Director of Federal Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The [Bowles-Simpson] plan also relies on reductions in scheduled Social Security benefits for most of the changes it proposes to ensure the program’s long-term solvency. Those benefit cuts outweigh the proposed revenue increases by 2 to 1 over 75 years — and by 4 to 1 in the 75th year. This does not represent a balanced approach to Social Security reform.”
John Podesta, Chair and Counselor, Center for American Progress: “The president needs to put forward a credible program for his new budget. The starting point for the president, however, should not be the proposal of commission chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, which got 11 out of 18 votes. That proposal failed to gain sufficiently broad bipartisan support and is substantively flawed. The reason: The Simpson-Bowles plan is too heavily reliant on spending cuts that are speculative and unlikely to be enacted and would be damaging to the U.S. economy if fully implemented.”
Henry J. Aaron, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution: “The proposed changes in Social Security…are largely extraneous to the immediate goal of deficit reduction and debt stabilization by 2020.
“The president’s debt-reduction commission advances even larger changes to Social Security — cuts of up to 41.5 percent — a longer list of near-term changes to Medicare and a blanket cap on the longer-term growth of overall health care spending. But its approach is similar to that of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s in that it relies primarily on cuts in other government spending and on tax increases to reduce the deficit.”
Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center: “The cuts proposed to Social Security would be particularly painful for women, who depend more on Social Security than men do. The plan would cut benefits for current retirees by reducing the cost of living adjustment, eroding the value of benefits for women who live longer than men. It would reduce benefits for all types of beneficiaries, including retired and disabled workers, widows and children, by changing the benefits formula. It would increase the retirement age, further reducing benefits for today’s young workers. And it would reduce benefits below scheduled levels for all but the poorest beneficiaries.”
"This proposal is simply unacceptable. Any final proposal from the Commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren's economic security as well as for our nation's fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare. And it must strengthen America's middle class families -- under siege for the last decade, and unable to withstand further encroachment on their economic security."
-Nancy Pelosi, 11/10/2010 http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/11/nancy-pelosi-calls-fiscal-comm.html
"The Deficit Commission recommendations would cut pensions for military members, lower Social Security payments, raise the retirement age and limit Medicare benefits. Cuts like that hit rural America the hardest because we proudly have more veterans and seniors than most other states.”
-Sen. Max Baucus, Fiscal Commission Member, 12/2/2010 http://www.baucus.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=244
"Social Security: lets underscore that the co-chairs and I agree that are not part of the deficit problem, and are not being considered for paying down the long-term debt – that we are looking for solvency. But the Chief Actuary of Social Security has pointed out that the combination of the proposals that you have made mean that someone who makes $43,000 over their lifetime, depending on when they retire, can lose more than 20% of the benefits that they would get under the current Social Security formulas. The changing the COLA for the elderly, recalculating the COLA means a significant cut in benefits because the elderly expenses are skewed in a different way than the rest of the population more toward health care. So I proposed a different way to achieve 75 year solvency that doesn’t hurt the elderly."
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky, 12/1/2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58x-cBaY3ZQ
'I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too...We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits! [...] Call when you get honest work!"
Email to Ashley B. Carson, then Executive Director of the Older Women's League