Cotton Can’t Hide

THE SUMMARY

2014-01-06 Cotton Get AheadTom Cotton can run but he can’t hide.

Cotton voted to deny Medicare until age 70. And voted to raise Social Security to 70 too, while cutting benefits.

You worked your whole life to earn Medicare and Social Security…

Tom Cotton would break that promise.

A promise Mark Pryor will keep. Mark took on President Obama to stop cuts to Social Security and wrote legislation to protect Medicare.

It’s a real difference for your retirement.

THE FACTS

As the saying goes, “You can run but you just can’t hide.”

That’s Tom Cotton.

Always trying to please his billionaire campaign funders, Tom Cotton voted to recklessly alter the nature of Medicare while cutting benefits and raising the age of eligibility to age 70. He’s done the same with Social Security: voting to increase the retirement age to 70 while cutting benefits.

Tom Cotton would break the commitment handed down from one generation to the next: the promise of Medicare and Social Security. More than 500,000 Arkansans depend on these programs, and for many they are the lifeline that keeps them from poverty. Tom Cotton would cut that lifeline.

Mark Pryor is fighting to keep the promise of Social Security and Medicare for Arkansas seniors. It’s why he took on President Obama when he wanted to cut Social Security cost-of-living increases, and Mark won. It’s also why he wrote and introduced the Medicare Protection Act, which makes it harder for reckless politicians like Tom Cotton to cut these programs in the future.

That’s the real difference in this campaign: Tom Cotton will cut Medicare and Social Security and put your retirement at risk. Mark Pryor is fighting to protect these programs and your future.

THE PROOF

COTTON VOTED TO RAISE MEDICARE ELIGIBILITY AND SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT AGE TO 70

2013: Cotton Was The Only Member Of The Arkansas Delegation To Vote For Republican Study Committee Budget That Raised The Eligibility Age For Medicare And The Social Security Retirement Age To 70 And Cut Social Security Benefits. In 2013, Cotton voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that “raises the Medicare retirement age to 70 and indexes it to life expectancy. Unlike other budgets, [Republican Study Committee Budget] also addresses Social Security specifically by switching to the chained CPI for cost-of-living adjustments and increasing the full retirement age to 70 and indexing it for life expectancy.” [CQ; H Con Res 25, Vote #86, 3/20/13; Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 3/19/13

... WHILE CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

2013: Cotton Voted For Republican Study Committee Budget That Cut Social Security Benefits By Switching To Chained CPI. In 2013, Cotton voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that “addresses Social Security specifically by switching to the chained CPI for cost-of-living adjustments and increasing the full retirement age to 70 and indexing it for life expectancy.” According to the AARP, “Changing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) using a chained CPI would have a detrimental impact on the economic well being of older and disabled Americans and their family members who receive benefits from Social Security. Small reductions to the annual COLA will accumulate over time so that the largest reductions in benefits will be on the oldest beneficiaries and the long-term disabled. For example, 92- year-old beneficiaries who were on the program for 30 years would see an 8.4% cut in benefits. Disabled children could face even larger benefit cuts over their lifetime. Oldest Americans are the least able to absorb cuts to their benefits as they are more reliant on Social Security for their income and have higher out-of-pocket medical spending and a higher poverty rate than younger Americans.” The budget was rejected by a vote of 104-132. [CQ; H Con Res 25, Vote #86, 3/20/13; Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 3/19/13; AARP, October 2012]

HEADLINE—AARP To Ways And Means: Chained CPI Is Less Accurate And A Significant Social Security Benefit Cut [AARP, 8/12/13]

AARP: “Chained CPI Would Take Approximately $340 Billion Dollars Out Of The Pockets Of Current And Near Retirees, Working Families, Veterans And The Disabled.” According to AARP, “Although many have attempted to characterize the chained CPI as a minor tweak, it is in fact a significant benefit cut that snowballs over time. The adoption of chained CPI would take approximately $340 billion dollars out of the pockets of current and near retirees, working families, veterans and the disabled, as well as the local economies in which they live, in the next 10 years alone. Specific to Social Security, the chained CPI cuts benefits by $127 billion over the next 10 years.” [AARP, 8/12/13]

AARP: “Specific To Social Security, The Chained CPI Cuts Benefits By $127 Billion Over The Next 10 Years.” According to AARP, “Although many have attempted to characterize the chained CPI as a minor tweak, it is in fact a significant benefit cut that snowballs over time. The adoption of chained CPI would take approximately $340 billion dollars out of the pockets of current and near retirees, working families, veterans and the disabled, as well as the local economies in which they live, in the next 10 years alone. Specific to Social Security, the chained CPI cuts benefits by $127 billion over the next 10 years.” [AARP, 8/12/13]

PRYOR OPPOSED THE PRESIDENT’S PLAN TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS…

April 2013: President Obama’s FY14 Budget Included Cuts To Social Security By Switching To Chained CPI. “Senate Republicans voiced optimism at news of the inclusion of “chained CPI” in President Barack Obama’s budget plan, which will be unveiled Wednesday. Obama is expected to offer the tweak to Social Security benefits as an olive branch to Republicans in an effort to jump-start talks over a large-scale deficit deal. Chained CPI is something Obama had put on the table in earlier talks with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). It would decrease the amount paid out in Social Security benefits by lowering the rate of cost of living adjustments.” [Politico, 4/9/13]

Pryor Called Obama’s Proposed Social Security Cuts Reckless. According to Reuters, “Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, facing a tough re-election fight this year, said he had fought against the president’s proposal. ‘With over 400,000 seniors in our state relying on these earned benefits, I’m glad the president heeded my call and withdrew his reckless proposal,’ he said.” [Reuters, 2/20/14]

May 2013: Pryor Cosponsored Resolution Opposing The President’s Cuts To Social Security. “The majority of Senate Democrats running for reelection in 2014, including three running in red states, have broken with President Barack Obama and are opposing his effort to cut Social Security benefits, imperiling the austerity project known as the ‘grand bargain …’ Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), all running in states won by Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, have publicly opposed the president’s effort, going so far as to co-sponsor a Senate resolution against chained CPI last week.” [Huffington Post, 5/6/13]

…AND PRYOR WON

February 2014: President Obama Dropped Proposal To Cut Social Security Benefits After Senator Pryor Opposed The Cuts. “President Barack Obama on Thursday dropped a measure to trim cost-of-living increases in Social Security from an upcoming budget proposal in an election-year move that may insulate fellow Democrats facing heat from senior voters … Sen. Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat facing a tough re-election fight this year, said he had fought against the president’s proposal. ‘With over 400,000 seniors in our state relying on these earned benefits, I’m glad the president heeded my call and withdrew his reckless proposal,’ he said.” [Newsmax, 2/20/14]

PRYOR INTRODUCED THE MEDICARE PROTECTION ACT

Pryor Introduced The Medicare Protection Act To Block Politicians From Raising Eligibility Age And Cutting Benefits. In March 2014, Pryor sponsored a bill that expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) the eligibility age under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act should not be increased, and (2) the Medicare program should not be privatized or turned into a voucher system. The legislation also amends the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, with respect to extraneous matter in reconciliation legislation, to require a provision to be considered extraneous if it eliminates or reduces guaranteed benefits for individuals entitled to, or enrolled for, benefits under Medicare or restricts the eligibility for such program. (Thus subjects such a provision to a point of order and stricken from the bill.) [S.2087, introduced 4/6/14]