Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada's Third District hosted a birthday party with Nevada seniors to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security, which is on Saturday. Below are her remarks as prepared:
"Thank you all for being here with me today to wish Social Security a very happy 75th birthday, and many more. I am delighted to be here to express my strong commitment to protecting Social Security, an issue that is very important to many of the people who live here in Southern Nevada.
"Nevada has been the fastest growing senior area in the country for the last decade, and District Three is home to more than 140,000 Social Security beneficiaries, so you can see why it's so important that we save Social Security for these residents and for all seniors across the country.
"Today we highlight the importance of strengthening Social Security. We need to protect Social Security from the misguided attempts to privatize it. It has been a success for 75 years. Those monthly Social Security checks -- which average $1,166 a month for retirees and account for almost $160 million each month in District Three -- provide a safety net from poverty for beneficiaries and are a key component for a dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work. Seniors contributed to Social Security. They paid into it, they earned it, they deserve it, and they depend on it.
"Yet as we celebrate 75 years of this very successful program, it is once again under attack by the Republicans. They want to dismantle it and spend trillions of dollars on a risky Wall Street scheme. This would gamble our seniors' savings in something that is very uncertain and line the pockets of Wall Street at the same time.
"The Republicans have already tried this once. They tried it under the Bush administration and failed, but they have made it very clear that they want to do it again. It's bad enough that the failed Bush policies got us into this economic mess, but now to add insult to injury they want to do it again. Seniors have already seen their housing values plummet, their retirement savings disappear, and now just imagine what would have happened if the one benefit they rely on went up in smoke in the stock market.
"That is why on behalf of the many seniors in Southern Nevada who depend on Social Security, they can count on me to fight to save and strengthen this vital program so that we can all be here celebrating Social Security's birthday for many years to come.
"Just a couple weeks ago, I joined with a few of my colleagues to introduce legislation to help seniors in the case they do not get a cost-of-living adjustment next year. This year for the first time, senior did not receive a cost-of-living adjustment in their Social Security benefits because of the economic recession, and there is a chance it could happen again next year.
"Our bill recognizes the toll the recession has taken on Nevada's seniors, as you have seen your hard-earned nest egg shrink as the stock market dropped. While the overall cost of living may not increase, costs that disproportionately affect seniors have continued to rise. That is why we will provide Social Security recipients with a $250 one-time payment if there is no cost-of-living adjustment next year. At a time when every dollar counts, this critical legislation will provide seniors with a much-needed boost to help them put food on the table, afford life-saving medication, and pay their mortgages."