Congressional Corner: Promises Made To Seniors Must Be Kept

Congressional Corner: Promises Made To Seniors Must Be Kept

By Representative Bill Posey (FL-15)

Most seniors have spent their entire lives paying into a system that guarantees Social Security and Medicare benefits at retirement age, and the federal government must honor that commitment. I introduced the Social Security Check Guarantee Act and the Senior Citizen Income Security Act, to ensure that this promise is kept and to ensure that senior citizens improve their economic well-being. With the ever-increasing cost of living these days, high gas prices, and a slow economy, many seniors could benefit from the provisions of these bills. The Senior Citizen Income Security Act (H.R. 1140) repeals the 1993 tax that Congress placed on Social Security benefits, which amounts to a double taxation of benefits for many seniors.

The bill also makes filing taxes less complicated by exempting the first $250 in dividend or interest from federal income taxes. In order to give retirement accounts a chance to recover from the market downturn, H.R. 1140 eliminates the requirement that seniors begin mandatory withdrawals from IRAs at age 70 and one-half. This change will remove seniors from the unfair burden that forces them to begin withdrawals from retirement accounts in the aftermath of significant market losses. My legislation eliminates Social Security payroll taxes for Social Security recipients who continue to work through their retirement to help make ends meet. It also makes Medicare more solvent by ending the mandate that requires Social Security recipients enroll in Medicare Part A. This change will save valuable Medicare dollars so that these dollars can be spent on those most in need of Medicare services.

Finally, the Senior Citizens Income Security Act would guarantee that should the Federal government ever shut down, Social Security benefits would still be paid. These are trust fund monies and these benefits should continue to be paid. I also introduced a separate bill called the Social Security Check Guarantee Act (H.R. 2581) to force the Administration to meet our obligations to seniors whether or not the federal budget debt ceiling is increased. The year before I came to Washington Congress gave itself a pay raise effective for January of 2009. This was approved before I got to Congress, but I told them NO, I would not take it and I returned it to the U.S. Treasury. And I have worked to block every pay increase for Congress since.

The United States Government made a promise to seniors that Social Security and Medicare benefits would be provided, and I am 100 percent committed to seeing those promises fulfilled. Furthermore, as the debate over federal spending reform persists in Washington and throughout the country, I will fight to ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a prosperous and free America.