National Committee president Max Richtman (right) at a town hall with Rep. Paul Tonko (center)
As we rush headlong toward the 2020 election year, the National Committee is ramping up its efforts to engage voters on the issues that matter most to seniors – Social Security, Medicare, and the soaring cost of prescription drugs. During the past week alone, NCPSSM President Max Richtman has been participating in town halls from New York state to California – bearing a message that Social Security and Medicare should be strengthened, not cut – and demanding that Congress act to reduce prescription drug costs.
Today, Richtman meets with voters at a Seniors Town Hall in Santa Rose, CA, hosted by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05). Last week, Richtman joined Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) for a forum about seniors’ financial and health security in Cohoes, NY on the 84th anniversary of Social Security. During that event, Richtman promoted the Social Security 2100 Act – introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT) – which increases benefits and adopts a more generous formula for calculating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
The expansions in the Social Security 2100 Act would be funded, in part, by adjusting the amount of income subject to FICA payroll taxes – meaning the wealthy would pay their fair share into the system.
“If you are working right now and you make above $132,900 dollars in wages, you don’t pay any more Social Security tax on that. That’s called the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax. So if you make $132,000 or $100 million, you pay the same amount. You think that’s right?” – Max Richtman, National Committee president, 8/13/19
Congressman Tonko has cosponsored the Social Security 2100 Act (which keeps the program financially solvent through the end of the century). He supports several bills to expand Medicare – including the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act – which would provide beneficiaries with vision, hearing, and dental coverage. The Congressman also backs legislation that would make cheaper, generic drugs more widely available.
Tonko says health care is a top priority for voters heading into the 2020 elections.
“When we talk about a forum like this, you begin with recognizing the importance and the relevance of (these issues) in the lives of the elderly…. I think that when you look at polling… the number one issue remains healthcare, affordability, and accessibility to quality care.” – Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Voters’ concern for these issues was palpable at the town hall in Cohoes, a Hudson Valley community within Tonko’s district where a total of 100,000 retirees live. “These voters showed up because they feel these issues keenly in their lives and in their pocketbooks,” says Richtman. “They came, they asked pointed questions, and hopefully they’ll go into the voting booth next year ready to elect candidates committed to strengthening seniors’ earned benefits.”
Max Richtman (R) presents boxing gloves to a seniors “champion,” Rep. Paul Tonko (L)
At the end of the town hall, Richtman presented Tonko with a pair of the National Committee’s trademark red boxing gloves – to signify that the Congressman is a fighter for seniors’ financial and healthy security. Richtman has another pair ready to give Rep. Mike Thompson – another champion of Social Security, Medicare, and prescription drug price reform – at the town hall today in Santa Rosa.