On November 6th, voters will choose whether to boost or cut Social Security and Medicare. The stakes are that simple. Republicans proposals would raise eligibility ages, reduce benefits and undermine both programs. On the other side, Democrats have introduced bills to expand and protect seniors’ earned benefits – legislation which has languished in a GOP-controlled Congress.
Voters will have a clear choice between candidates who talk about ‘entitlement reform’ and those who truly champion Social Security and Medicare for current and future retirees. With five weeks until election day, the National Committee is supporting more than 60 candidates for House and Senate who share the commitment to preserving and enhancing seniors’ financial and health security. Here are a few of the candidates we are adding to our list this week:
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is a “strong proponent” of Social Security, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and earns a 100% rating from the National Committee. Ditto for Medicare, as she co-sponsored the Medicare and Medicaid Protection Act to protect the two programs from partisan attacks through the budget reconciliation process. Her opponent, Kevin Nicholson, has proposed means testing earned benefits and “indexing” the retirement age to average life expectancy.
In Virginia’s 7th district, former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger is challenging incumbent Congressman Dave Brat. Brat is a Tea Party favorite who has been campaigning to slash seniors’ earned benefits since first running for Congress in 2014, telling CNN last year, “(We’re) going to have to do some major cuts” to Social Security and Medicare. Spanberger opposes “any attempts” to privatize either program or to cut benefits, and pledges to “protect Social Security and Medicare so we can meet our obligations to seniors, now and into the future.”
Democrat Mike Levin seeks the House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa in California’s 49th district. He believes that Social Security and Medicare are “some of the most successful programs in our nation’s history” and thinks we should be “doing the opposite” of raising the retirement age. Levin pledges to strengthen – not slash – benefits. The San Diego Union-Tribune calls Levin an “easy pick” in his race against Republican politico Diane Harkey.
Maine state representative Jared Golden is running against Congressman Bruce Polquin in the state’s 2nd Congressional district. Golden has rightly called out the GOP incumbent for voting to take healthcare away from more than 100,000 Mainers, adding $2 trillion to the debt by voting for the Trump/GOP tax plan and “threatening cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for it.” Golden promises to fight “privatization or rollback” of either program and advocates increasing benefits “so that more seniors have the opportunity for comfortable, secure retirements.”
One can see from the Real Clear Politics statuses for these races that the outcomes are not a forgone conclusion. Only one of the candidates we support, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, has a clear lead five weeks before election day. That’s why the National Committee has been encouraging seniors and their families to vote as if Social Security and Medicare are on the line. Because this election year, they truly are.