Brendan Doherty, candidate for Congress from Rhode Island's First Congressional District, today challenged incumbent Congressman David Cicilline to account for his failure to address the future of Social Security and Medicare. Doherty was joined by a group of Rhode Island senior citizens who expressed their faith and trust that Doherty will stand by his pledge to protect and preserve Social Security for current beneficiaries and future generations alike. These seniors have faith in Brendan Doherty, as a man of unquestionable integrity, that he will stand by his word and reject the disingenuous scare tactics employed by Cicilline and his operatives.
"As Americans, we made a social contract with our senior citizens. These are men and women who worked hard and followed the rules. They deserve our respect and support and as I have stated time and again, when I go to Washington, I will continue to stand up for them as I have throughout my career in public service," began Doherty. "Allow me to state my position as clearly and directly as possible," Doherty continued, "I will work in Congress to maintain the Social Security and Medicare programs in their current form and will reject efforts to cut benefits for our seniors."
"I have offered my commitment time and again throughout this campaign, but unfortunately my opponent and his political operatives continue to misrepresent my position and falsely accuse me of a secret plan to cut Social Security and Medicare. This is just not true," asserted Doherty. "I have stated unequivocally that I am opposed to any plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system," Doherty continued. "I am concerned that a voucher system would shift healthier Americans to private insurance plans and leave the sickest and frailest Americans in a weakened version of traditional Medicare. This proposal simply would not achieve the political consensus that is essential to any real effort to reform a fundamental social program such as Medicare."
"In contrast, I frequently credit the work of Republican President, Ronald Reagan and Democrat Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill in forging consensus for a bipartisan compromise in 1983 to strengthen and preserve Social Security. We must reprise that spirit of cooperation in 2013 to once again fortify this program, which is essential for many seniors to maintain their way life. Before we even discuss any proposal to modify one of our social safety net programs," asserted Doherty, "we must fight the fraud, waste and abuse in these programs."
"An opportunity for bipartisan cooperation to strengthen the Medicare program exists in Washington right now," observed Doherty. "Twenty five Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have cosponsored legislation to combat the estimated $48 billion or more in waste and fraud that is drained from Medicare each year. In Congress, I will make it a priority to fight Medicare fraud by voting for bills such as the Medicare and Medicaid Fast Act (H.R. 3399) and by investigating other ways in which we can stop people from stealing from our seniors. No one should even mention a reduction in benefits or change in services to our senior citizens while such waste and fraud continue -- in short, we must fight fraud first."
Doherty, however, has singled out the Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayers' Dollars Act or Medicare and Medicaid FAST Act (H.R. 3399) as the type of legislative effort to combat waste and fraud within Medicare and Medicaid that he would support immediately upon his election to Congress and questioned Cicilline's reluctance to embrace this common sense proposal.
"While Congressman Cicilline often speaks of his commitment to protect Medicare from any possibility of budget cuts, he failed to take this common sense action to address the fraud, waste and abuse that accounts for at least $48 billion being diverted every year from the Medicare program and taken away from our seniors who depend on the Medicare program," commented Doherty. "Moreover, a new study by the RAND Corporation shows that Medicare and Medicaid fraud and waste may be as high as $98 billion. Congressman Cicilline has appealed to his colleagues in Congress and other budget negotiators to maintain funding for Medicare, but given the opportunity to join twenty-five of his colleagues in sponsoring this common-sense, bipartisan proposal to combat the loss of billions of dollars from the program every year, his name is nowhere to be found on the legislation," Doherty noted.
"Rhode Island seniors deserve a Congressman who offers more than political rhetoric when it comes to protecting their social safety net," stated Doherty. "While Mr. Cicilline continues to rely on scare tactics and misinformation, attempting to link me to a Medicare voucher program that I have rejected unequivocally, I will tell the citizens where I stand on the issues and I will not stand by quietly and permit this deception to continue. Most importantly, when I get to Washington, I will work with colleagues from both political parties to enact proposals such as the Medicare and Medicaid FAST Act. Rhode Islanders deserve to know that their government is using its resources efficiently and effectively to help our citizens and I will work tirelessly to root out and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse that robs precious resources from those who need them most," Doherty continued.
"I am calling on Congressman Cicilline to put an end to the scare tactics, inflammatory partisan rhetoric and outright deception about my positions and to explain his own failure to support the Medicare and Medicaid Fast Act," said Doherty. "Rhode Island must elect a leader to represent the First Congressional District and while I have spent decades in leadership roles, he is showing a total lack of leadership in his failure even to acknowledge the need to strengthen Medicare or combat the waste and fraud that threatens this program every day. In Congress, I will work to protect Medicare for this generation of beneficiaries, while preserving its guaranties for our children and grandchildren," concluded Doherty.
Doherty was joined at a press event by a group or Rhode Island senior citizens who stood by Doherty in support of his candidacy and their belief in his commitment to preserve Social Security and Medicare. The participants have expressly rejected Cicilline's false attacks on Doherty and joined in the call for Cicilline to explain his failure to support the Fast Act or any other proposal to address fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare.
Marion O'Brien, a senior citizen and strong supporter of Brendan Doherty stated, "Mr. Cicilline has tried to mislead us seniors into believing that Brendan will abandon his unwavering support for Social Security and Medicare. When Brendan tells seniors he will work to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, we know we can trust him. Brendan earned a record of unwavering integrity during his career as a highly-respected member and Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police."