GOP Candidates Attack Social Security, Medicare at Primary Debate

August 10, 2015

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Last night, the Republican Party held its first primetime primary debate in Cleveland, Ohio. Participants in the evening event included current and former Governors Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, and Scott Walker; Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio; pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson;and business mogul Donald Trump. An event earlier in the day featured candidates who did not make the top ten in national polls.

The nighttime debate featured a heated exchange between Governors Christie and Huckabee on how to best “reform” Social Security. Governor Christie said he was in favor of raising the retirement age for Social Security, which would reduce benefits for millions of older Americans. Prior statements from Jeb Bush suggest that he is in favor of “phasing-out” Medicare, while Scott Walker also hinted yesterday that Social Security was “ready for reform.”

ARA members at the Republican primary
presidential debate

“These GOP attacks on Social Security and Medicare need to stop,” said Alliance President Barbara Easterling. “It is clear from their statements yesterday, and previously, that none of the candidates at this debate stand for retirement security for all Americans.” 

Alliance members gathered outside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Thursday night to protest GOP candidates’ hostile statements towards Medicare and Social Security.

Democratic Candidates Take Questions from Labor Leaders in Iowa 

On Thursday, the Iowa Federation of Labor hosted a candidate’s forum for four Democratic candidates running for President. Former Governor/Senator Lincoln Chafee, former Governor Martin O’Malley and current and former Senators Bernie Sanders and Jim Webb each fielded questions from labor leaders - including Iowa Alliance President Jan Laue - on how they would support working Americans and retirees. Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not able to attend.

Ms. Laue questioned the candidates about retirement security, asking what changes they would favor making to Social Security, Medicare, and pension plans. She also asked about Wall Street reform, noting the golden parachutes of the wealthiest CEOs and the revolving door for many government workers, lobbyists, and Wall Street executives.

Alliance Members Continue to Celebrate Medicare’s 50th Anniversary, Social Security’s 80th

Alliance members and allies continued to hold more celebrations this week in honor of Medicare’s 50th anniversary and Social Security’s upcoming 80th anniversary on August 14th. Check out our Flickr page for recently added photos of celebrations across the country.

In Rhode Island, a birthday event featured Reps. Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, along with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. In San Antonio, members of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA) held a rally outside of Rep. Will Hurd’s office, encouraging him to side with America’s retirees and stop supporting cuts to Medicare. See TARA’s Facebook page for more.

“Thank you to Alliance members in who so enthusiastically participated in ten more birthday events during this past week, adding to our total of more than 140,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

Remembering Bruce Dunton

Bruce Albert Dunton, 78, of Boynton Beach, Florida passed away after a long battle with Parkinson's. Bruce was the former President of the Maryland/DC Alliance and will be long- remembered for his commitment to the organization.

“We thank Bruce for his many years of service on behalf of Maryland and Washington, D.C.’s retirees,” said Alliance executive director Richard Fiesta. “He was a beloved father, husband, and friend to many, and he will be missed dearly.”

Medicare Turns 50: Leader Pelosi Stands up for Strengthening Medicare and Social Security

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare and the 80th anniversary of Social Security, let us rededicate ourselves to strengthening, not cutting, the security they guarantee each generation of Americans.”- Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader

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