"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
Click here to download the 2012 Voting Record
This past year we saw the most unproductive Congress in modern American history finally come to an end, passing fewer than 250 bills in two years. In just 2012 alone, bipartisan consensus legislation on issues such as farm programs and violence against women languished and went uncompleted. The House even refused to vote on needed relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Yet, it voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on its constitutionality. In the Senate, 115 filibuster threats grounded work to a near standstill on dozens of issues. All the while, the dysfunction in Congress pushed the nation toward a false crisis of a fiscal cliff. This act cost taxpayers nearly $19 billion because of avoidable credit downgrades. The nation deserves better. Voters in the 2012 elections did not reward many proponents of these policies.
Explanation of 2012 House Votes
Explanation of 2012 Senate Votes
Voting Record 2011.pdf
2011 saw a new Congress come to Washington. Almost immediately, many went to work on attacking our core retiree programs, Social Security and Medicare. In addition to congressional actions, these programs came under scrutiny early in the year by the national Fiscal Commission. Although it was unable to reach final recommendations, a majority of the commission supported a plan that would cut the Social Security COLA, raise the retirement age, and make seniors pay more for Medicare benefits. A congressional Super Committee later in the year also was unable to make any final recommendations, but it, too, considered some of these misguided proposals.
Voting Record 2010.pdf
In 2010, the nation continued to see unprecedented economic and fiscal challenges the likes of which had not been seen in decades. Retirees faced these hardships as well. While the economy began a slow recovery, unemployment remained high. We also celebrated the 75th anniversary of Social Security and 45th anniversary of Medicare, vivid reminders that even during times of economic hardship these two vital programs have remained strong, delivering the guaranteed benefits for which retirees worked hard.
Voting Record 2009.pdf 2009 saw unprecedented economic and fiscal challenges the likes of which had not been seen in decades. The economy slowed dramatically and shed jobs at alarming rates. Many retirees saw their retirement security put in serious jeopardy. Millions saw their home values, personal savings and retirement accounts plummet. A new administration came to Washington in the midst of this turmoil.
Voting_Record_2008.pdf 2008 saw dramatic change come to Washington. Key retiree issues included whether to privatize Social Security, continue the wasteful subsidies under Medicare Advantage, and allow the continuance of the confusing Medicare Part D prescription drug program without the ability to negotiate for lower drug prices. Voters responded and the result was increased majorities in Congress and a major change in the White House.
Voting_Record_2007.pdf In 2007, retirees saw a new Congress come to Washington. The great wave of voter discontent in 2006 led by retirees, who vote in the greatest numbers, elected new majorities to both houses of Congress. For retirees and older Americans, the threats of Social Security privatization, the fallout from the confusing Medicare Part D prescription program, and a tax system skewed toward the wealthiest Americans all contributed to the change in Congress.
Voting_Record_2006.pdf In 2006, Congress enacted legislation that again contributed to record level spending deficits and deepened the nation's budget and fiscal crisis. By November, retirees made their feelings known at the polls.
Voting Record_2005.pdf In 2005, we saw Congress once again enact legislation that worsened the nation’s budget and ﬁscal crisis at the expense of retirees and older Americans. In the face of the largest deﬁcits in the nation’s history, Congress deepened the crisis and favored only the wealthiest Americans with tax cuts. In addition, even before the Medicare Part D prescription drug program went into effect, its many ﬂaws quickly became evident. Yet Congress did nothing.
Voting Record 2004.pdf The year 2004 saw national political focus on congressional activity take a back seat to the presidential election. As busy as Congress was in 2003 on retiree issues with the Medicare prescription drug legislation, 2004 did not have as high a level of activity. Nonetheless, Congress did address key issues such as government spending, pension protections, and veterans’ health care.
Voting Record 2003.pdf In 2003, Congress directly assaulted the quality of life for retirees. Congress passed, and President Bush signed, legislation that creates a privatized Medicare drug program that beneﬁts insurance and pharmaceutical compa- nies, not older Americans. The Medicare Part B program, which covers physician services, is now subject to means-test- ing based on income, undercutting the core of social insurance principles. A third consecutive year of tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans threatens the ﬁnancial stability of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. Just as the baby boomer generation is ready to retire, budget deﬁcits are now at an all-time high.
Voting Record 2002.pdf In 2002, retirees and older Americans had the opportunity to make their voices heard loud and strong at the polling booth. America’s seniors traditionally vote in disproportionately higher numbers than the rest of the voting population, especially in mid-term congressional election years like 2002. So it comes as no surprise that this past year has seen much activity in Congress directed at older Americans. Unfortunately, there have been few positive results. Issues such as the creation of a comprehensive Medicare prescription drug beneﬁt plan, pension protection reforms, a patients’ bill of rights, and the longterm stability of Social Security still remain unresolved. Yet elected ofﬁcials will try to convince older Americans that they are on their side.
Voting Record 2001.pdf 2001, even before the September 11 attacks, was unfriendly to retirees. Promises of a Medicare prescription drug benefit went unfulfilled. Irresponsible budget and taxation policies threatened the Social Security and Medicare surpluses. Unjustifiable efforts to privatize the Social Security system continued throughout the year. Even a consensus railroad retirement bill took the entire year to pass.