Martha Robertson, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 23rd, was endorsed yesterday by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the leading advocacy organization for the two programs.
Appearing with Robertson at St. Mark’s Terrace, a senior living facility in Penn Yan, Phillip Rotondi, the committee’s political director, said that Martha had demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the two programs and would fight to protect them in Washington. On the other hand, Tom Reed, our current representative, had voted for cuts in benefits and to turn both programs over to private insurance companies. Reed also voted to prolong the 2013 government shutdown. Had the shutdown lasted, seniors depending on Social Security and Medicare would have suffered greatly.
Rotondi noted that the Social Security program was observing its 79th birthday that very day and had paid its promised benefits to seniors in full over all those years. The Social Security Trust Fund is now at a level that will allow benefits to be paid in full at least until 2035, and possibly until 2044. Consequently, proposals to cut benefits or fundamentally alter the program are nonsensical. Meanwhile, thanks to changes under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare solvency has been assured at least until 2030.
In New York’s 23rd, Rotondi said, there are 159,000 Social Security beneficiaries. Of these, just 64 per cent are retired seniors. Twenty-eight thousand are disabled workers; 17,000 are widows or widowers; and 12,000 are children being helped because one or both parents are disabled, deceased, or retired. Social Security plays a vital role in the local economy, which would be seriously damaged if the program were cut.
As he finished his remarks, Rotondi presented Martha with a pair of bright red boxing gloves to help her protect Social Security and Medicare when she gets to Congress.
In her own remarks, Robertson made note of her work in the Tompkins County legislature spearheading the introduction of TompkinsRx. The program, which has shaved an average of $60 from the cost of prescriptions for the uninsured and the under-insured, represents the kind of common sense reform she would work for in Congress. Robertson vowed to make good use of the boxing gloves when she gets to Capitol Hill.