Women to Watch

 Stacey Abrams

“Social Security has remained a vital lifeline, protecting the well-being of countless seniors. Today, we must do everything in our power to safeguard and strengthen its promise for generations to come.”

 Patricia Arquette

“The reality is 40 percent of the families are female-headed, there’s millions of relationships where both parents are working — they’re all getting affected by this gender inequality,” she said.  Latina women make 55 cents to every white man’s dollar. On average, black women make around 64 cents to every white man’s dollar.“ Clearly women are not being paid fairly,” she said. “At this rate… it’s going to take until 2058 [to achieve wage equality].“

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici 

“I stand firm in my belief that we must not allow Social Security and Medicare to be privatized or compromised.  Our current economic challenges must not be used as an excuse to dismantle these critical programs, which allow our seniors to live their lives with dignity.  The Social Security trust fund is solvent and we must keep our promise to seniors by ensuring that it remains that way.”

Rep. Julia Brownley

“Balancing our budget does not mean doing so off the backs of America’s seniors, who have paid a lifetime into Medicare and Social Security while “Big Oil” and the ultra rich get more tax breaks.”

Rep. Cheri Bustos

“I strongly oppose any attempt to privatize Social Security or cut benefits.  Social Security is a critically important element of retirement and I will fight hard to protect it. That’s why I led an effort opposing the switch to a so-called “chained CPI” system for calculating Social Security benefits.  This would have reduced benefits each year and made it harder for seniors to make ends meet.”

Rep. Katherine Castor

Castor led the way for new collaborative health initiatives at the University of South Florida, the Haley Veterans Administration Hospital and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. In 2009, Castor helped secure a Medicaid waiver on behalf of the State of Florida and hospitals throughout the state from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that brought $4.3 billion to Florida.

Rep. Diana DeGette

As a senior member of the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce, I was proud to play a key role in shaping the Affordable Care Act, and it gives me great pride every time I speak to a Coloradoan about how it is already helping their families. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have already seen expanded access to quality, affordable health care and an increase in benefits for Americans, all while keeping costs down and holding insurance companies accountable.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

Congresswoman DeLauro believes that preserving Social Security is part of our moral duty to keep retired Americans from falling into poverty. Social Security was founded on a promise: if you work in America, America will guarantee you a solid foundation for retirement. That is why Congresswoman DeLauro works to strengthen Social Security and opposes privatization critical American cornerstone.  She also introduced the Rebuild America Act which will increase Social Security benefits while strengthening the Social Security Trust Fund, ensuring its solvency for generations to come.

Rep. Val Demings

“We must do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable seniors. They shouldn’t have to decide between buying groceries and buying prescription drugs…” “The Trump Administration is dead wrong in its lawsuit to strip healthcare from millions of Americans by ending the Affordable Care Act, which will cause immediate harm to older Americans, and increase out-of-pocket costs for families.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell

“Women have to work for more than three months of the calendar year before they finally catch up to men with what they were paid for the previous year. While women are playing a key role in the workforce, women aren’t being paid equal pay for equal work.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth

“Social Security and Medicare make a real difference in the lives of working Americans and it is a top priority of mine to protect these programs.I am willing to consider raising the cap on earnings subject to the payroll tax above $110,100 as a way to strengthen Social Security. I would also take steps to make sure that the Social Security Trust Fund is repaid in full for the funds it has loaned during decades of surpluses. I oppose privatizing Medicare by turning it into a voucher system – doing so would end Medicare as we know it and diminish its protections and benefits.”

Judith Feder, Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University

“Medicare and Medicaid are essential to the health and financial well-being of the elderly, disabled, and poor. Their costs per enrollee have consistently grown more slowly than private insurance premiums, despite their focus on populations with the greatest health care needs.”

Rep. Lois Frankel

Failure to close the Medicaid Gap is damaging to Floridians’ health, and harmful to Florida’s economy,” said Frankel.  “We have a new category of the working wounded,” she added.

Rep. Marcia Fudge

“I spend a lot of time at home talking to my senior citizens. And on one of my visits home, they gave to me a package of 25,000 signatures asking if I would pledge to support Social Security. I want them to know I’m going to pledge to do that, but I also want to say to them, yes we need to make some changes, but it is not a Ponzi scheme. I want for them to understand those who get by, keep food and shelter because of Social Security. It is not a Ponzi scheme. Yes, we need to make some changes, but you know what Mr. Speaker, we just need to raise the cap. We don’t need to say that it can’t be fixed; that it’s broken.”

Vice President Kamala Harris

“ Social Security and Medicare are the bedrock of our social contract. Together, these safety net programs keep millions of seniors and people living with disabilities out of poverty. [I] oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and believe we need to strengthen these safety nets.”

Heidi Hartmann, PH.D., President Emerita and Senior Research Economist

“Elderly women rely on Social Security for most of their income, because they have less access to other forms of income such as pensions and savings that men have more access too.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan

“[Those] who exit the workforce to care for a loved one often sacrifice years of retirement savings and Social Security contributions, putting them at a disadvantage that can cause them to struggle financially later in life. These caregivers should be provided modest retirement compensation for their work, which is essential to the health and well-being of our people and our communities. I’m proud …to cosponsor the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act…”

Rep. Robin Kelly

“Standing up against efforts to privatize Social Security or end Medicare by replacing it with a voucher program. These proposals will hurt seniors. I support reforms that will make Social Security and Medicare more efficient without reducing benefits for our seniors.”

 Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi

As an Institute fellow, Kilolo Kijakazi works with staff across the Urban Institute to develop collaborative partnerships with organizations and individuals who represent those most affected by the economic and social issues Urban addresses, expand and strengthen Urban’s rigorous research agenda on issues affecting these communities, effectively communicate the findings of Urban’s research to diverse audiences, and recruit and retain more diverse research staff at all levels.

 Sen. Amy Klobuchar

“I will continue to fight against risky schemes that would privatize Social Security and turn it from a guarantee of a secure retirement into a gamble where only the big financial companies on Wall Street would be the sure winners… I will fight to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors—and all Americans—by lifting the ban on Medicare negotiating prices directly with drug companies on behalf of the 43 million seniors in the Part D program…”

Rep. Ann Kuster

“Defending the Social Safety Net:  Our nation’s commitment to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security reflects our commitment to the sick, elderly, and vulnerable among us.  Shortly after taking the oath of office,I told the President that I will reject cuts to benefits for Americans in these critical programs.”

Rep. Barbara Lee

“For these reasons and so many more, I will continue to work to protect Medicare and will reject any effort to dismantle it. At a time when our nation is still recovering from the greatest recession since the Great Depression, Medicare is not only helping our seniors, it’s helping our economy, and we must keep it strong.”

Rep. Nita Lowey

Congresswoman Lowey voted for the most significant package of Medicare improvements that have become law in recent years, including: Extending the life of the Medicare trust fund; Providing free preventive care and annual wellness exams; Eliminating the Medicare Part D “donut hole;” Providing bonus payments to doctors for treating Medicare beneficiaries; and Reducing fraud to save precious resources and ensure that seniors receive the care they deserve.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

“Women’s role in the workplace has changed dramatically in recent decades. But the fact is that our economic policies have not always kept up. In 1965, a typical – median — woman earned 60 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And today – a typical woman working full time, year round – earns 78 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterpart. That’s an improvement – but that’s still a 22-percent “pay gap” – one that represents more than $10,000 annually to a typical woman and her family.”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto

“… seniors have worked hard for their retirement and we must protect and strengthen the benefits that they have paid into their entire lives.  That doesn’t mean turning Social Security over to Wall Street or turning Medicare into a voucher program…”

Rep. Doris Matsui

“As co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Seniors in the House of Representatives, I am committed to improving the health and well-being of aging Americans. I have consistently supported policies that are important to seniors in Sacramento, such as protecting Social Security, strengthening Medicare, and reforming our financial system so that all Americans have the tool they need to achieve retirement security. These are critical components of the Democratic agenda to ensure that older Americans have the stability and security that they have earned and deserve.”

Rep. Gwen Moore

“During my time in Congress I have been a champion for improving the lives of women and advancing gender equality. From working to increase the 77 cents that women make for every dollar earned by a man to ensuring that women have access to affordable health care, I have made women and their families a top priority.”

Sen. Patty Murray

“Washington state seniors and disabled residents deserve a Medicare system that works for them – this means a system that ensures beneficiaries have access to quality and affordable health care, and supports our doctors through fair Medicare reimbursement rates. Medicare beneficiaries also deserve a prescription drug program that meets their needs as well as their budget. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to support and strengthen Medicare for current and future beneficiaries.”

Rep. Linda Sanchez

“I support allowing the government to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers. It is hard to believe that current law prohibits this basic price reduction tool. I also voted for the CHAMP Act (the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act). The CHAMP Act would ensure that more low-income seniors can enroll in the Extra Help program, and get the extra financial help they deserve.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

“That is why I so strongly oppose efforts to privatize Social Security or reduce benefits, to turn Medicare over to private insurance companies and turn it into “vouchercare”, or jeopardize access to long-term care services by cutting Medicaid and turning it into a block grant. We can ensure the longevity of these programs by making them more efficient. We do not need to cut benefits.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Prior to the health reform debate, Senator Shaheen introduced the Medicare Transitional Care Act with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). The legislation addressed costly hospital readmissions by providing seniors and their caretakers support during the vulnerable time after discharge from a hospital. Experts estimate the Medicare Transitional Care Act could save up to $5,000 for every Medicare beneficiary affected. Provisions from Senator Shaheen’s bill were included in the Affordable Care Act and signed into law.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

“Social Security is a promise made to Arizona seniors who, throughout their lives, diligently paid into this system. Since its inception, Social Security has allowed millions of Arizona seniors to retire with dignity and peace of mind. I will continue to work to make sure these funds are solvent today and for future generations. Social Security is central to the retirement security of Arizona seniors and I am committed to protecting this earned benefit.”

Rep. Jackie Speier

Women’s issues are family issues.  Congresswoman Speier has fought her whole career for the rights of women.  The right to make their own healthcare decisions, their right to earn equal pay for equal work, their right to succeed under non-discriminative working conditions – to name a few.  Congresswoman Speier truly believes that when women succeed, America succeeds, and she will continue to be a vocal champion for women and their families.

Rep. Dina Titus

“Social Security is a commitment to the dignity and retirement security of our country’s seniors. For the past 77 years, it has been one of our nation’s most successful programs. I am committed to protecting Social Security, ensuring that the program is preserved for current beneficiaries as well as for future generation.”

 Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has a long history of accomplishment in the public arena, and for the last decade has in the private sector. She is a Managing Director at the Rock Creek Group, an investment management company. She is Chair of the Governor’s Retirement Security Task Force for the State of Maryland.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

“Social Security is a lifeline for seniors and Americans with disabilities. We won’t let it be cut by one cent – and instead we will fight to expand it,” Warren said. “The rich and powerful have rigged our economy to make themselves richer, while working families face a massive retirement crisis. If this government really works for the people, it should protect and expand Social Security.”

Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury

“The Social Security program needs only modest reforms to restore its 75-year solvency… Additional revenue is critical because Social Security has become even more vital as fewer and fewer people have defined-benefit pensions.”