bbk-headshot_captionWe’re at a very important legislative crossroads on Capitol Hill.  Congress is about to make another attempt at health care reform, a Presidential Commission has been appointed which will target Social Security and Medicare for cuts while at the same time Americans are still struggling in this difficult economy.  I went to the Senate today and talked to the Democratic Steering Committee about the challenges ahead and about how important it is to remember the vital role Social Security and Medicare continue to play for millions of Americans...especially during this recession.  I’ve posted my remarks here: 
"First, health care reform.  We are at a crossroads – a moment when history can be made.  You have an opportunity to provide health insurance to millions without it and to help millions to be able to afford the health care they already have.  I represent seniors across these United States.   I spent the last year talking to seniors & will continue to educate seniors about the importance of health care reform and especially how important it is to the future of Medicare.    Medicare is not sustainable over the long run unless the cost of health care is slowed.  If you don’t pass this bill again the individual beneficiaries and government will not be able to sustain the Medicare program.  The other issue I would like to mention briefly is the Commission President Obama has created by executive order.  The National Committee fought hard against a commission.  I strongly believe in 'regular order' and had real problems with the fast-track process in the original commission. But we have this comission now and we're going to live with it.   I urge you as leaders of the Senate not to put the Commission on autopilot and forget it.  Past Congresses have worked hard to keep SS out of deficit discussions.  They recognized SS is an insurance program workers earned by their hard work & payroll deductions. I just sat through hours of focus groups with people of all ages.  They understand SS is something they paid for and earned.  And they’re counting on it as the basis for their retirement.  The ones that are in their 50s know they need SS as a basic part of their retirement, especially in these economic times.  I was in Congress during the 1983 Commission.  At the time I had a daughter who was still in college.  Today she’s 50 and retirement isn’t so far away any more.  Any changes that are made to SS will need to be phased-in slowly so today’s workers can plan for them.   I strongly urge you to stay in close touch with Commission members.   Urge them to tread very carefully where SS is concerned.   The recommendations they make will affect our nation for generations."