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Jack Reed on Social Security

Democratic Sr Senator (RI)


Continue to consider solutions for Notch babies

Q: Notch babies are those individuals who receive lower Social Security benefits because they were born in the years 1917 and immediately thereafter. Do you support Notch Reform?

A: I believe Congress must address the benefit levels of individuals born between 1917 and 1926, and I appreciate the urgency of this issue for members of this age group. One of the major issues facing the nation is ensuring that Social Security can meet its obligations to beneficiaries in light of fiscal pressures that the system will face as the baby boom generation retires. As we continue to consider solutions to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security, it is my hope that Congress will address the Social Security Notch and recognize the plight of those individuals born between 1917 and 1926.

Source: Senior Citizens League Guide to the 2008 US Senate Campaigns , Oct 10, 2008

Take away no more than 25% of a retiree’s annual COLA

Q: The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that seniors are currently receiving does not accurately reflect how they must spend their money. Do you support COLA Fairness, based on the consumer price index (CPI) for seniors?

A: I understand how difficult it can be for many Social Security beneficiaries living on fixed incomes, particularly with the rising cost of housing and energy prices as well as skyrocketing health care and prescription drug costs. As such, I have cosponsored the Social Security COLA Protection Act to protect the standard of living of Social Security beneficiaries from dramatically rising Medicare premiums. This legislation will ensure that no more than 25% of a retiree’s annual COLA is taken away by increases in Medicare premiums. Although Social Security faces many financial challenges, for over 70 years, Social Security has provided a dependable and predictable stream of income--and I will continue my work to ensure that remains the case.

Source: Senior Citizens League Guide to the 2008 US Senate Campaigns , Oct 10, 2008

Stand-alone private accounts hurt long-term solvency

Q: Do you support Reform or Privatization?

A: I remain committed to ensuring the solvency of Social Security, now and for the future. We must encourage more personal savings for retirement, but stand-alone private accounts that divert money from Social Security would do nothing to improve the program’s long-term solvency. I have fought efforts to privatize Social Security, and I will continue the fight to ensure the federal government honors our promise to those who have paid into the system.

Source: Senior Citizens League Guide to the 2008 US Senate Campaigns , Oct 10, 2008

Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.

Voting YES would:
  1. require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
  2. ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
  3. provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
  4. ensure that the funds made available to finance such legislation do not exceed the amounts estimated to be actuarially available.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt. This Amendment would change that.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."

Make no mistake about it, this is a stalking-horse for Social Security. It looks good on the surface, but this is an amendment to privatize Social Security.
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-089 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted NO on using the Social Security Surplus to fund tax reductions.

Vote on a motion to table (or kill) the motion to recommit the bill to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee with instructions directing the committee to "correct the fact that the bill uses" Social Security surpluses for tax breaks.
Reference: Bill S.1429 ; vote number 1999-236 on Jul 30, 1999

Voted NO on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt.

This vote limited debate on the amendment offered by Sen. Abraham (R-MI) that would have created a Social Security "lockbox" and establish limits on the public debt. [A YES vote was for a lockbox]. This vote failed because 3/5 of the Senate did not vote.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)54; N)45; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on Amdt #254 to S. 557; Bill S. 557 ; vote number 1999-90 on Apr 22, 1999

Voted NO on allowing Roth IRAs for retirees.

Senator Roth (R-DE) offered this amendment to the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act to allow people older than 70.5 with incomes over $100,000 to move funds from an Individual Retirement Account into a Roth IRA.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)56; N)42; NV)2
Reference: Roth Amdt #2339; Bill H.R. 2676 ; vote number 1998-120 on May 6, 1998

Voted NO on allowing personal retirement accounts.

Vote on an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Finance Committee should consider legislation to use the federal budget surplus to establish personal retirement accounts as a supplement to Social Security.
Reference: Bill S.Con.Res.86 ; vote number 1998-56 on Apr 1, 1998

Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Reed scores 100% by the ARA on senior issues

The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: ARA website 03n-ARA on Dec 31, 2003

Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".

Reed co-sponsored Resolution on CPI

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to adjust Social Security benefits.