Is it possible America?s sleeping giant has finally been awakened? By the looks of today?s Social Security rally on Capitol Hill?the answer is absolutely! Hundreds of seniors, the disabled, survivors and their families crammed into a Senate hearing room to warn Congress ? hands off Social Security. It?s a message that, until now, has been largely ignored here in Washington. The lively crowd was bolstered by members of the Senate Social Security Defenders Caucus, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Harkin, Sanders, Franken and Blumenthal. It?s clear these Senators will be on the front lines against the well-financed and media complicit campaign to cut Social Security under the guise of ?fiscal responsibility?. Here?s a sample of their comments to today?s rally crowd:
?We have a serious deficit problem ? we do. But anyone who says Social Security has contributed to the debt is not telling you the truth. Social Security isn?t funded by the US Treasury, it?s funded by the payroll taxes you contributed. If you want to talk about the debt let?s talk about wars and tax cuts for the rich. ? Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)?Wall Street grabbed up our money ? they won, we lost. American families lost $17 trillion ? that?s with a ?t?– in income during this recession but they didn?t lose a penny of their Social Security because we defeated that ridiculous plan to privatize it.? Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)?Social Security provides a safety net for Minnesota families torn apart by unspeakable tragedy and allows America?s retirees to age with dignity. Social Security has nothing to do with reducing the deficit. Social Security benefits should not be cut at all, for anyone, as part of efforts to reduce the deficit.? Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)?The issue isn?t about numbers or even dollars and cents. It?s about promises ? keeping promises. Social Security is a great program. It is an American promise and America is a great nation because we keep our promises. It?s simple–Don?t mess with success because if it ain?t broke don?t fix it. ? Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
For more than a year, Americans have been bombarded with a Washington-based, Wall Street-funded campaign to link our economic mess to Social Security, even though they?re not connected in any way. And while polls consistently show the American people know Social Security did not cause our deficit crisis, inside Washington it?s another story. Today, some outside-the-Beltway reality was delivered by Americans who?ll have to live with the so-called ?shared sacrifice? Washington?s fiscal hawks want to dish out.
?When I hear talk about cutting Social Security along with words like ?fiscal responsibility? I get pretty upset. I?ve been fiscally responsible my whole life and part of that meant paying all those Social Security taxes out of my paychecks. My children who are all in their fifties are fiscally responsible too so why should they or any workers who pay into Social Security not get their full benefits? It?s not responsible to ask hard working Americans to sacrifice a benefit they?ve already paid for and depend on.? Pat Cotten, 70 year-old nurses aide & National Committee member?This is not some abstract debate about can we shave a dollar here or a dollar there ? there are literally lives at stake.? Annie Wadsworth Grove ? Small business owner, Utica, NY?Social Security is vital to Elise? ability to contribute to society. We are so proud of Elise but we need the Congress to know there are real people out there who will suffer if Washington ignores the impact of what they ultimately do.? Joyce Lipman ? Mother of disabled adult, 40 year old Elise?Social security is our money. We paid into the system. The program doesn?t borrow money ? it didn?t cause our deficit. I want the benefit I paid into and earned. This is our money and Social Security works so let?s keep it working.? Terry Moakley, Disabled Retired Veteran, New York ?Only in Washington DC do politicians sitting behind desks and attending meetings think raising the retirement age is a good idea ? come do my job.? Rajini Raj ? Silver Spring Registered Nurse
Senator Reid and Sanders have introduced the Social Security Protection amendment that states,
?Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries should not be cut and that Social Security should not be privatized as part of any legislation to reduce the Federal deficit.?
The amendment may be offered this week during the debate on the Small Business Reauthorization Act, which is why we need you to act quickly! Tomorrow is a National Call-in Day sponsored by 300 of the nation?s leading organizations, all working together to preserve and strengthen Social Security. Please, even if you?ve never called your Senator before, take a moment tomorrow and let them know that Social Security is a promise to the American people that Congress must not break. Tell your senators to pass the Sanders/Reid Social Security Amendment.You can use our Toll-Free Legislative Hotline to access your Senators with one simple call.