Shelley Berkley on Social Security
Democratic Representative (NV-1)
Voted YES on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable.
Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would raise the amount individuals may contribute to traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and to 401[k] plans and make pensions plans more portable
Reference: Bill sponsored by Portman, R-OH;
Bill HR 10
; vote number 2001-96
on May 2, 2001
Voted YES on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits.
Vote to pass a bill that would reduce the percentage of Social Security benefits that is taxable from 85 to 50 percent for single taxpayers with incomes over $25,000 and married couples with incomes over $32,000. The revenues that would be lost for the Medicare trust fund would be replaced by money from the general fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX;
Bill HR 4865
; vote number 2000-450
on Jul 27, 2000
Voted YES on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox.
Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.
Reference: Motion to Recommit introduced by Rangel, D-NY;
Bill HR 1259
; vote number 1999-163
on May 26, 1999
Create Retirement Savings Accounts.
Berkley adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Balance America’s Commitments to the Young and the Old
An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We can’t just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today’s workers and future generations. In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security,
for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC7 on Aug 1, 2000
- Honor our commitment to seniors by ensuring the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare.
- Make structural reforms in Social Security and Medicare that slow their future cost growth, modernize benefits (including a prescription drug benefit for Medicare), and give beneficiaries more choice and control over their retirement and health security.
- Create Retirement Savings Accounts to enable low-income Americans to save for their own retirement.
Changing Social Security disproportionately affects women.
Berkley co-sponsored changing Social Security disproportionately affect women
RESOLUTION: Recognizing the unique effects that proposals to reform Social Security may have on women.
Source: H.RES.128 01-H128 on May 1, 2001
- Whereas the Social Security benefit structure is of particular importance to low-earning wives and widows, with 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receiving wife's or widow's benefits;
- Whereas 3/4 of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income;
- Whereas without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%;
- Whereas women tend to live longer and tend to have lower lifetime earnings than men do;
- Whereas women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time; and
Whereas during these years in the workforce, women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes the unique obstacles that women face in ensuring retirement security and survivor and disability stability and the essential role that Social Security plays in guaranteeing inflation-protected financial stability for women throughout their entire old age, and it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Congress and the President should take these factors into account when considering proposals to reform the Social Security system.
Reject proposals for private saving accounts.
Berkley co-sponsored rejecting proposals for private saving accounts
To reject proposals to partially or completely substitute private saving accounts for the lifelong, guaranteed, inflation-protected insurance benefits provided through Social Security. The Congress finds the following:
- President Bush promised to partially privatize Social Security, and appointed a commission to develop a plan on his behalf.
- The commission developed three alternative plans that would partially privatize Social Security.
- The plans divert substantial monies from the Social Security Trust Funds to pay for the private accounts, which threatens benefits for current beneficiaries by significantly weakening the financial condition of the Trust Funds.
- The plans' cuts in disability and survivor benefits directly contradict the President's promise that disability and survivor benefits would be preserved under privatization.
- Furthermore, these reductions in guaranteed benefits apply to all workers,
regardless of whether they chose to have an individual account or not.
- Substituting private accounts for guaranteed Social Security benefits increases financial risk for retirees, disabled workers and their families.
- Moreover, other proposals to privatize Social Security, such as the 'Social Security Guarantee Plus' plan or the 'Social Security Ownership and Guarantee' plan, establish private accounts that directly or indirectly reduce Social Security benefits.
Source: H.R.4780 02-H4780 on May 21, 2002
- The Congress hereby commits to preserve the guaranteed, lifelong, inflation-protected benefits provided under the Social Security Act to retirees, disabled workers and their families, and the survivors of deceased workers; and
- Congress therefore rejects the President's plans to partially privatize Social Security, and other proposals to privatize Social Security by establishing private accounts that would undermine traditional Social Security benefits.
Rated 90% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.
Berkley scores 90% 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
Require small businesses to allow automatic IRA deposits.
Berkley co-sponsored requiring small businesses to allow automatic IRA deposits
Women's Retirement Security Act of 2008: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to increase the retirement security of women and small business owners. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to:
Source: Women's Retirement Security Act (HR5543/S1288) 08-S1288 on Mar 6, 2008
- require certain small employers who do not provide retirement plans for their employees to allow eligible employees to participate in a payroll deposit individual retirement account arrangement (automatic
- expand eligibility for the tax credit for retirement savings contributions (saver's credit) and make such credit refundable;
- allow part-time employees to participate in qualified cash or deferred arrangements;
- allow the transfer of up to $500 of unused health plan benefits to qualified retirement plans;
- treat wage replacement income (e.g., disability pay or unemployment compensation) as earned income for purposes of IRA contribution limits; and
- allow self-employed individuals to deduct pension plan contributions from their self-employment income.
No severe changes; no privatization.
Berkley signed H.RES.1077
RESOLUTION Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives against severe changes to Social Security.
Source: Resolution Against Severe Changes 10-HR1077 on Feb 5, 2010
- Whereas Social Security's essential protections for workers and their families cannot be matched by private savings, which are a complement to, but not a substitute for, Social Security's guaranteed benefits;
- Whereas, as one such protection, Social Security provides a guaranteed benefit that one can never outlive, and unlike private savings or investments, is not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market;
- Whereas, for 75 years, Social Security has never been a day late or a dollar short;
- Whereas the American people made clear in 2005 that they did not seek severe change in Social Security when they resoundingly rejected President Bush's attempt to privatize Social Security;
- Whereas the current minority party plan for Social Security is even more extreme than the plan they advanced in 2005:
- it cuts guaranteed retirement and survivor benefits
for all workers, whether or not they wish to have a private account;
- it diverts trillions from the Trust Fund into private accounts;
- it increases Federal borrowing by $4,100,000,000,000; and
- it subjects workers' basic retirement security to market volatility and the risk of losses; and
- Whereas privatizing Social Security means benefit cuts, diversion of Trust Fund resources, subjecting individuals to market risk and losses, and increasing Federal borrowing by trillions of dollars:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress should stand with the American people to reject severe changes to Social Security, including any and all attempts to privatize Social Security, and instead should commit to work bipartisanly to make common-sense adjustments to Social Security to strengthen it for future generations while preserving its guarantees of secure income and family protection in the event of a worker's death, retirement, or severe disability.
Supported pension reform and tax credits for long-term care.
Berkley adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women’s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 7: RETIREMENT:
- HR1102—Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act—provide for pension reform (Portman/Cardin)
- HR2102—Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 1999—allow deducting long-term care insurance premiums and a credit for individuals with long term care needs. (N. Johnson/Thurman)
- HR2261—Health Insurance Affordability and Equity Act of 1999—provide incentives for health coverage by providing credits and deductions for unemployed and self-employed to cover health care costs. (N. Johnson)
- HR1021—Small Business Pension Start-Up Credit Act of 1999—allow small employers a credit against income tax for costs incurred in establishing a qualified employer plan (Stabenow/Camp)
- HR957—Farm and Ranch Risk Management Act—allow farmers to put money into the equivalent of IRAs to cover expenses during
downturns in the market. (Hulshof/Thurman)
The Caucus supports efforts to ensure that the unique needs of women are recognized and addressed in efforts to shore up Social Security. The Caucus supports efforts to educate women about pension plans and encourage women to save for retirement. The Caucus recognizes that:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC10 on Jul 15, 1999
- 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receive wife’s or widow’s benefits.
- Three-quarters of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income.
- Without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%.
- Women tend to live longer and have lower lifetime earnings than men.
- Women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time
- Women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn.
Page last updated: Oct 17, 2012