In an intensifying 2016 presidential atmosphere, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) leaped to the front of the Democratic congressional delegation with a flurry of blows aimed at Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to incrementally raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 and reduce benefits for certain earners.
A big backer of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pascrell (pictured, above, with John Graham) elbowed his way into the conversation by highlighting legislation he cosponsored to extend the solvency of Social Security to 2100 without making harmful cuts to seniors.
“Today, one of the most unpopular governors in the country is unveiling what will soon become one of the most unpopular entitlement reform plans,” Pascrell said. “Governor Christie has decided that the only way to rein in entitlement spending is on the backs of seniors. This couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, I am a proud cosponsor of Congressman John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act, which extends the solvency of the program to 2100 without making harmful cuts to seniors.
“I would like to remind the Governor that the Affordable Care Act lowered the number of uninsured Americans while extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years. It has been successful by enacting reforms that revolutionize the way we pay for health care and reducing waste and fraud within the program. Raising the eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare, as the Governor proposes, takes our entitlement programs in the wrong direction.
“Increasing the Medicare eligibility age to 67 is not only bad for seniors, but also makes no fiscal sense. While some seniors would simply be forced to go without insurance, the Governor’s plan would also shift costs to other federal health programs, such as Medicaid, and increase outlays in the ACA’s premium tax credits. The Governor must not realize a one-year increase in the full retirement age is equivalent to a roughly 7 percent cut in monthly benefits for all retirees who are affected.
“The people of New Hampshire will soon realize what New Jerseyans have already learned – while Governor Christie may be good at shouting down teachers at town halls, his governing needs some work.”