June 03, 2011

Blog Post: 2010 Alliance Voting Record, Compiling Key Congressional Votes, is Now Available

On Tuesday, the Alliance released its 2010 Congressional Voting Record, detailing the votes of every U.S. Senator and Representative on key issues affecting current and future retirees. The document is available at https://retiredamericans.org/voting-record/. “At a time when Congress has been debating the future of Social Security and Medicare, it is more important than ever that people of all ages know the issues and how their elected officials voted,” said Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling. The voting record examines ten key Senate votes and ten key House votes from 2010, giving the roll calls on issues such as strengthening Medicare, help for Social Security recipients, and protecting older Americans from consumer and lending fraud. According to the Voting Record, 183 U.S. House Members achieved perfect scores of 100% in 2010, while 83 members of the House received scores of zero. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP’s plan to privatize Medicare and cut Social Security, was one of the House members receiving a grade of zero. Twenty-two members of the U.S. Senate received perfect scores of 100%, while 16 Senators received scores of zero.

Alliance Teams with Social Security Works to Release State Social Security Polls

In a new poll released on Wednesday, 76% of likely voters in Florida’s 2012 election said that they oppose cutting Social Security benefits in order to reduce the federal deficit. Those opposed include 90% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans, 71% of Independents, and 56 % of Tea Party supporters. The poll was paid for by Social Security Works, a national organization that convenes the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, which is comprised of more than 300 national and state organizations from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations. It was released as leaders in Washington debate how to reduce the federal deficit, and many members of Congress call for including deep cuts to Social Security. The poll found that Social Security could be a real wedge issue in the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Florida.  Nearly seven in ten (69%) of Florida voters say they would be less likely to vote for a Senate candidate who supports cutting benefits to reduce the deficit. Social Security could also influence swing voters: by a margin of 57% to 9% of independents and a margin of 65% to 5% of those who are undecided in the generic 2012 Florida Senate ballot, voters indicated they would be much less likely to vote for a candidate who supports cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit.

Ms. Easterling participated in a similar event releasing a poll in Virginia on Tuesday.  That poll showed that 75% of likely voters in Virginia’s 2012 election oppose cutting Social Security benefits in order to reduce the federal deficit. A poll being released today reveals that 78% of likely voters in Missouri’s 2012 election oppose cutting Social Security benefits in order to reduce the federal deficit. For more on these and other polls, go to http://bit.ly/l0RH5V.

Playing Politics with the Debt Ceiling

On Tuesday, Congress voted down a “clean” debt ceiling increase, in favor of tying the measure to politically motivated goals such as cutting Social Security and Medicare.  The defeated bill had no strings attached, and merely raised the debt ceiling from $14.3 trillion to $16.7 trillion. Republicans wish to only raise the debt ceiling if they can attach provisions from the unpopular Ryan Budget.  However, by voting down this bill, Republicans have rendered the prospect of government default a very real possibility. If the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2nd, the U.S. will not be able to meet its financial obligations, a situation that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has described as “Catastrophic”.  “As this debate heats up, we will have to focus more than ever on protecting Social Security and Medicare from cuts,” said Ruben Burks, Alliance Secretary-Treasurer.

Voter ID Laws Target Those More Likely to Vote Democratic

Since the 2010 midterm elections, Republican state legislators and governors have been working tirelessly to enact tougher voter identification laws. While many politicians veil the push for the laws as a way to cut down on fraud, evidence of such widespread voter fraud has yet to materialize. In reality, the push for voter ID requirements disenfranchises young people, seniors, and minorities, all of whom lack state issued photo ID’s at a greater rate than the rest of the general population. Minorities and young people are overwhelmingly Democratic voters, while seniors are overwhelmingly swing voters.   In Wisconsin, for example, 23% of seniors; 59% of Latina women; and 78% of African-American men 18 to 24-years-old lack a state-issued photo ID. Currently, 12 states require a photo ID to vote. Some states are also shortening early voting periods and restricting the ability of third parties – such as the League of Women Voters – to hold voter registration drives.

New Alliance State Presidents for North Carolina, New York

Jim Moore was elected State President at the North Carolina Alliance’s convention in Raleigh on Wednesday. North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Secretary-Treasurer of the North Carolina AFL-CIO MaryBe McMillan delivered remarks.  Attendees thanked John Newman for his seven years as president, and Richard Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance, spoke about current Social Security and Medicare developments. In New York, Dennis Tracey takes over as state president, followingJim Wood’s four years of dedicated service.

Nevada Alliance Commemorates Memorial Day

On Sunday, the Nevada Alliance (NARA) sponsored a Memorial Day BBQ to honor veterans and to defend the Social Security benefits upon which so many depend when they return to civilian life. Teachers, local labor leaders and other supporters joined in the celebration, featuring Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), purple heart recipient and veteran Rodney Smith and AFT member and veteran Dick Collins. Scott Watts, President of NARA, presided over the tribute.  Richard Fiesta also lent support. To see photos, go to http://bit.ly/lCOdYA.

Presidents of NAACP, NEA to Speak at Alliance Convention in September

Help us mark our 10-year Anniversary at our upcoming Legislative Conference, Celebrating Our Past, Fighting for Your Future, on September 6 – 9, 2011 in Washington, D.C.! Information and registration forms were mailed last month. You may also register online at http://bit.ly/hQro1V.Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP, and Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association, are scheduled to speak. Any questions, please contact Event Coordinator Joni Jones at 202-637-5377 or jjones@retiredamericans.org.

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