|SITREP - March 8th 2012|
This morning, I testified before the House Budget Committee about seniors’ priorities during the 2012 budget process. You can click HERE to see that testimony. In short, I made it clear that any budget proposal coming out of Congress should take meaningful steps to shore up the long-term viability of Medicare, but should do so without changing a single benefit for anyone in or nearing retirement – 55 and up. That is the line I drew in the sand last year and the Budget Committee didn’t cross it.
This is the background: For several years now, the Medicare Actuaries have been sounding the alarm that the system cannot continue as it is much longer. The average family in America pays in roughly $100,000 into Medicare over the course of their working lives, but collects roughly $300,000 in benefits. In other words, we need at least three working families for every current retiree.
So as long as there are a lot more people paying into the system than there are collecting benefits, the system can sustain itself. However, when you have a situation where 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day in America and that pace will continue for the next nineteen years, and you also have, at the same time, a comparatively smaller and smaller work force each year still paying in, the system becomes unstable.
The actuaries have reported that the main Medicare Trust Fund will be exhausted within a decade. That is going to be devastating to current seniors if nothing is done. As the representative of nearly a quarter of a million individuals who are relying on Social Security and Medicare, I have to make sure that doesn’t happen. That was my promise to them.
In other news, the House passed a strongly bipartisan jobs package today. The package contained six bills, several of which had already passed the House with over 400 votes (out of 435), two passed though committee on virtually unanimous votes, and the last enjoys strong bipartisan support in the Senate.
Obviously, we can’t agree on everything in Washington, but I think we all agree that America has to get back to work. Small businesses are the key to that and if there are things the federal government is doing that cause unnecessary hardship for those job creators, we need to change those policies. In short, that is what these six bills do. If you’d like more information on the specifics, click HERE.
I am optimistic about the prospect for the JOBS Act to become law. The President has officially stated his support for the legislation and is urging the Senate to pass it. Even though all three of the House-passed bills in the package have been sitting in the Senate without action for months, the White House is now pushing for action. That’s the kind of bipartisan leadership we need to get Harry Reid moving.
All in all, it’s been an uncommonly good week in Washington. As always, please take a minute and let me know what is on your mind.