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Public Statements

Issue Position: Social Security

Issue Position

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Issue Position: Social Security

* Firmly believes that Social Security is a vital social compact between the government and the nation's senior citizens, and that no senior citizen who has paid into the system should be denied benefits.
* Supports legislation to ensure that Social Security surpluses are only spent on Social Security programs.
* Cosponsors legislation to eliminate provisions which reduce Social Security benefits for many teachers, police officers, and fire fighters.

I have long been a supporter of efforts to honor the commitments made to senior citizens through the Social Security system. The Social Security program represents a vital social compact between the Government and our nation's aging population. I am concerned about the potential insolvency of Social Security, which, according to the May 2007 Social Security Trustees report, could be as early as 2041.

As the baby boom population ages and enters into retirement, the need for Social Security reform becomes even more apparent. It is my hope that any restructuring of the Social Security system ensures that no senior citizen who has spent his or her working years paying into the system be denied benefits or be removed from the Social Security rolls.

I did not take a position on the President's plan for Social Security, because I think that Congress has to see the details of a proposal before we can really make an evaluation. I am prepared to examine any reform plan suggested by the Administration or Members of Congress. Throughout this debate, however, I will remain committed to the bedrock principle that Social Security must be structured so that all workers, young and old, will have the benefits on which they have come to rely.

I have been a consistent supporter of so-called "lockbox" legislation that addresses the long-term solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund. This would require that any Social Security surplus funds be utilized solely for Social Security and would include budget mechanisms to ensure that Social Security revenues are not used for other purposes. During the 110th Congress, I voted in favor of amendments to the fiscal year 2008 budget that reiterated this philosophy that Social Security surpluses should not be spent on non-Social Security initiatives.

In the 110th Congress, I cosponsored the Social Security Fairness Act which eliminates two provisions that reduce benefits for many public servants. The Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset reduce benefits between 40 and 90 percent and make it more difficult for the nation to recruit good teachers, police officers, first responders, and firefighters.


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