Where the Super Committee Members Stand on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid


Where the Super Committee Members Stand on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

The Super Committee is entrusted with deciding the fate of our nation’s most important social programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is important to understand where the 12 members of Congress appointed to the Super Committee stand on these critical programs. 

To help with this, the Strengthen Social Security Campaign has compiled some recent voting records and past statements of Super Committee members. They reveal that Super Committee members include some of Social Security’s staunchest defenders and its fiercest opponents. However, in the current environment in Washington that prioritizes deficit cutting above all else, even Social Security’s strongest champions feel pressure to make a bipartisan deal that includes benefit cuts. That’s why we must pressure all Super Committee members—defenders and opponents of the program alike—not to cut Social Security. And no cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, too!

Republican Senators

Voting Record
In the past year alone, Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) have all voted to cut Social Security benefits, end Medicare as we know it, slash Medicaid, and cut taxes for the richest Americans and for corporations.

  • Voted for a bill that could cut your Social Security benefits by up to one-third by 2016—a $5,700 a year benefit cut for the average earner. (Voted YES on H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, July 19, 2011.)
  • Voted to take away Medicare as we know it and leave seniors at the mercy of insurance companies. Voted to increase seniors’ health care costs by nearly $7,000 a year and to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. (Voted YES on H.Con.Res. 34, the Senate Republican Budget, May 25, 2011.)
  • Voted to slash $1.4 trillion from Medicaid—the health care program for seniors, women, children and people with disabilities. (Voted YES on H.Con.Res. 34, the Senate Republican Budget, May 25, 2011.)
  • Voted to give a $1.1 trillion tax cut to the richest Americans and to cut their tax rate and the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. (Voted YES on H.Con.Res. 34, the Senate Republican Budget, May 25, 2011.)

Key Statements
Senators Kyl, Portman and Toomey’s extreme votes are nothing new. For years now, each of these senators have tried to cut Social Security and privatize it, increased our budget deficits by cutting taxes for the richest Americans, and made disparaging remarks about Social Security.

Call Sen. Kyl:
(602) 840-1891

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

  • Supported plans to privatize Social Security. Kyl called privatization a “responsible, constructive proposal that does not have a lot of negative downsides that have been attributed to it.” (Federal News Service,Hearing from Senate Finance Committee on the Final Report Produced by the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, October 3, 2002. Retrieved from LexisNexis, August 11, 2011. Link unavailable.)
  • Opposed ending subsidies for Big Oil. Kyl abandoned budget negotiations with the Obama White House in June 2011 because he did not want to reduce subsidies for big oil and gas companies. Kyl said reducing those subsidies amounted to “[punishing] you, because you make a lot of money.”
  • Does not care about deficits when it comes to tax cuts. The Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent alone will increase the deficit by $830 billion over the next ten years.  When Kyl was negotiating with the White House to extend these tax cuts in December 2010, he claimed that you should not “have to offset a tax cut.”

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

  • Supported Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Portman said in 2005 that privatization was the“greatest force in the universe,” and later claimed that Bush showed “political courage and leadership” on Social Security.
Call Sen. Portman:
(614) 469-6774
Call Sen. Toomey:
(215) 241-1090

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)

 

Democratic Senators

Voting Record
In the past year alone, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Max Baucus (D-MT), and John Kerry (D-MA) have all voted AGAINST cutting Social Security benefits, ending Medicare as we know it, slashing Medicaid, and cutting taxes for the richest Americans and for corporations.

  • Voted AGAINST a bill that could cut your Social Security benefits by up to one-third by 2016—a $5,700 a year benefit cut for the average earner. (Voted NO on H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, July 19, 2011.)
  • Voted to PROTECT Medicare and NOT put seniors at the mercy of insurance companies. Voted AGAINST increasing seniors’ health care costs by nearly $7,000 a year and raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. (Voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, the Senate Republican Budget, May 25, 2011.) Voted AGAINST slashing $1.4 trillion from Medicaid—the health care program for seniors, women, children and people with disabilities. (Voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, the Senate Republican Budget, May 25, 2011.)
  • Voted NOT to give a $1.1 trillion tax cut to the richest Americans and NOT to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. (Voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, the Senate Republican Budget, May 25, 2011.)

Key Statements
Senators Murray, Baucus and Kerry’s record of voting to defend Social Security in the current Congress comes as no surprise. They have long expressed their commitment to preserving the integrity of Social Security and Medicare from Republican attacks. Still, more recently, under pressure to make a deal, they have shown varying degrees of openness to cuts.


Call Sen. Murray:
(206) 553-5545

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Super Committee Co-Chair

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)


Call Sen. Baucus:
(406) 449-5480

Call Sen. Kerry:
(617) 565-8519

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)

Republican Representatives

Voting Record
In the past year alone, Representatives Jeb Hensarling (R, TX-5), Dave Camp (R, MI-4), and Fred Upton (R, MI-6) have all voted to cut Social Security benefits, deprive the Social Security Administration of essential funding, end Medicare as we know it, slash Medicaid, and cut taxes for the richest Americans and for corporations.

  • Voted for a bill that could cut your Social Security benefits by up to one-third by 2016—a $5,700 a year benefit cut for the average earner. (Voted YES on H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, July 19, 2011.)
  • Voted to cut the Social Security Administration by $1.7 billion. (Voted YES on H.R. 1, Feb. 19, 2011.)
  • Voted to take away Medicare as we know it and leave seniors at the mercy of insurance companies. Voted to increase seniors’ health care costs by nearly $7,000 a year and to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. (Voted YES on H.Con.Res. 34, the House Budget Resolution, April 15, 2011.)
  • Voted to slash $1.4 trillion from Medicaid—the health care program for seniors, women, children and people with disabilities. (Voted YES on H.Con.Res. 34, the House Budget Resolution, April 15, 2011.)
  • Voted to give a $1.1 trillion tax cut to the richest Americans and to cut their tax rate and the corporate tax rate from 35 percent  to 25 percent. (Voted YES on H.Con.Res. 34, the House Budget Resolution, April 15, 2011.)

Key Statements
The votes taken by Representatives Hensarling, Camp and Upton reflect ideological opposition to the idea of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as to increasing revenues in any way. 


Call Rep. Hensarling:
(214) 349-9996

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R, TX-5), Super Committee Co-Chair

Rep. Dave Camp (R, MI-4)


Call Rep. Camp:
(989) 631-2552

Call Rep. Upton:
(269) 385-0039

Rep. Fred. Upton (R, MI-6)

Democratic Representatives

Voting Record
In the past year alone, Representatives Xavier Becerra (D, CA-31), Jim Clyburn (D, SC-6) and Chris Van Hollen (D, MD-8) have all voted AGAINST cutting Social Security benefits, depriving the Social Security Administration of essential funding, ending Medicare as we know it, slashing Medicaid, and cutting taxes for the richest Americans and for corporations.

  • Voted AGAINST a bill that could cut your Social Security benefits by up to one-third by 2016—a $5,700 a year benefit cut for the average earner. (Voted NO on H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, July 19, 2011.)
  • Voted AGAINST cutting the Social Security Administration by $1.7 billion. (Voted NO on H.R. 1, Feb. 19, 2011.)
  • Voted to PROTECT Medicare and NOT put seniors at the mercy of insurance companies. Voted AGAINST increasing seniors’ health care costs by nearly $7,000 a year and raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. (Voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, the House Budget Resolution, April 15, 2011.)
  • Voted AGAINST slashing $1.4 trillion from Medicaid—the health care program for seniors, women, children and people with disabilities. (Voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, the House Budget Resolution, April 15, 2011.)
  • Voted NOT to give a $1.1 trillion tax cut to the richest Americans and NOT to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent  to 25 percent. (Voted NO on H.Con.Res. 34, the House Budget Resolution, April 15, 2011.)

Key Statements
Representatives Becerra, Clyburn and Van Hollen are among Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid’s strongest champions in Congress. Their past statements reveal a deep commitment to the programs’ core values. Still, more recently, under pressure to make a deal, they too have shown varying degrees of openness to cuts.


Call Rep. Becerra:
(213) 483.1425

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D, CA-31)

Rep. James Clyburn (D, SC-6)


Call Rep. Clyburn:
(803)799-1100

Call Rep. Van Hollen:
(301) 424-3501

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD-8)

“Super Committee” Created to Develop Deficit-Reduction Plan Should Exempt Social Security from Cuts

Cuts to Social Security, which are a likely target of the Super Committee, should not be considered by the committee for the following reasons:

  • Social Security does not contribute a penny to the federal deficit.
  • Social Security already operates under its own spending cap as benefits will automatically be cut across-the-board, without any action by Congress, if Social Security ever does not have enough income to cover its costs.
  • Social Security is a pension plan with its own dedicated revenue stream that demands it be considered totally separate from deficit discussions. Doing otherwise will likely intensify the public’s suspicions that Congress is raiding Social Security.

Click here to read a more detailed fact sheet on why the “Super Committee” should exempt Social Security from cuts.

Return to main Super Committee page.


View the full text of the petition here


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