Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Concurrent Budget Resolution on the Budget, Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I rise to offer support for an amendment I will be offering, No. 198, which establishes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect the benefits of disabled veterans and their survivors, which may or may not include CPI.

This amendment is supported by the American Legion, which is the largest veterans organization in our country, AARP, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, AFL-CIO, Disabled American Veterans, National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, Gold Star Wives, and Alliance for Retired Americans. This amendment is supported by every veterans organization, every major senior organization, 12 million workers in the AFL-CIO, every disability organization, and the National Organization for Women.

Why are they all supporting this amendment? They understand at a time when millions and millions of veterans are struggling to keep their heads above water economically, when we have millions of seniors today who are having a difficult time purchasing the prescription drug they need, food they need, and the ability to heat their homes, it is cruel and immoral to turn our backs on veterans and seniors to make disastrous cuts for the benefits of disabled veterans and for seniors.

Under the chained CPI, a disabled veteran who started receiving disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits cut by more than $1,400 at age 25, $2,300 at age 55, and $3,200 at age 65.

Memorial Day is coming. I know many of my colleagues around the country will give speeches to veterans and tell veterans how much they support and respect the sacrifices they have made. It is time to go beyond fine rhetoric and fine speeches if we are serious about protecting the needs of veterans. Now is the time to stand tall. They have protected us. Now our job is to protect them. It is wrong to balance the budget on the backs of disabled veterans, pure and simple.

What the chained CPI would do to seniors on Social Security is equally bad. In my State we have many seniors--and I daresay in Maine as well--who this winter wonder how they will find the money they need to heat their homes and to purchase the prescription drugs they need. Many of them are living on $13,000, $14,000 or $15,000 a year on Social Security benefits. The chained CPI would say to them, if you are 65 today, by the time you are 75, your benefits would be cut by some $650 a year. By the time you are 85, your benefits would be cut by $1,000 a year.

I will offer another amendment above and beyond the chained CPI, which makes the point every single year we are losing tens and tens of billions of dollars. The largest corporations in this country are putting their money in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and paying zero--zero--in Federal income tax. One out of four profitable major corporations pays nothing in Federal income tax, including some of the Wall Street firms we bailed out a few years ago.

What this whole debate is about is how do we go forward with deficit reduction in a way which is fair, a way which is moral, and a way which calls for good economic policy. I would argue when some of the largest corporations in America pay zero in Federal income taxes, before we cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans, ask those people to start paying their fair share of taxes.

We are in a horrendous recession. Real unemployment is over 14 percent, counting those who have given up looking for work and are working part-time. Median family income since 1999 has gone down by $5,000.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANDERS. Let us not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country.

I ask unanimous consent to add Senator Whitehouse to my amendment No. 198.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 198.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, this amendment would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect disabled veterans and their survivors, which may not include a chained CPI--no chained CPI.

This amendment is cosponsored by Senators Harkin, Hirono, and Whitehouse. This amendment is strongly supported by the American Legion and all of the veterans organizations. It is supported by the AARP and all of the senior organizations because they do not want to see cuts in Social Security. It is supported by the AFL-CIO and the National Organization for Women, among many other groups.

After all of the fine Memorial Day speeches about how much we love and support our veterans, the Disabled Veterans of America, the Gold Star Wives----

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANDERS. They want to know if we are going to balance the budget on the backs of disabled veterans. I hope very much we will not do that.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SANDERS. What this amendment basically says is it does away with the revenue that the committee has put into the bill. It says the only way to do deficit reduction is to cut, cut, cut--cut Social Security, veterans programs, Medicare, Medicaid. One out of four corporations does not pay a nickel in taxes today. No problem. We are losing $100 billion with companies putting their money in the Cayman Island's tax havens. No problem. The only way to go forward is to cut, cut, cut. The American people do not support that concept. This amendment should be defeated.

Mr. President, I raise a point of order that the pending amendment is not germane to the underlying resolution and therefore violates section 305(b)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top