Washington, DC — Roger Hickey, Co-Director of the Campaign for America’s Future, issued the following comments after Democrat Kathy Hochul’s victory in New York’s special election, and about the upcoming Senate vote on the House Republican (Ryan) budget.
Hickey said, “Democrat Kathy Hochul won the predominately Republican seat in New York after the voters learned of Republicans’ deeply unpopular plans to gut Medicare. It’s easy to blame Rep. Paul Ryan and his Scrooge-inspired budget plan, but voters will not forget all of the other Republicans who voted for it. Senators should vote against the Republican House budget because the American Majority clearly wants them to focus on taxing the wealthy and cutting the military budget and not on deficit reduction. The outcome of the NY election demonstrates that the public reject cuts to Medicare, a program that promises peace of mind in retirement for Americans who pay into it their whole lives.”
Campaign for America’s Future’s TheMiddleClass.org will be grading Senators on their vote on the Republican budget proposal, which Hickey called “a defining vote.”
Hickey also warned Democrats that if they want to be credible to voters, they should also declare their commitment to defending Social Security and Medicaid. After listening to President Bill Clinton speak at the Peterson Institute Summit today, Hickey said, “Democrats could still blow their advantage if they agree to cuts to the other crucial programs: Social Security, and Medicaid. Noting that some Democrats have called for raising the Social Security retirement age or big cuts to Medicaid, he said, “It’s not just Republicans who need to listen to the lessons learned in New York’s special election: Americans want also their leaders to consistently fight for Social Security and health programs — for their own retirement and for future generations.”
Hickey praised President Barack Obama for thus far, keeping Medicare and Social Security off of the budget chopping block.
The American Majority supports Medicare, in fact: more than 80% of seniors say Medicare is central to their retirement security. Over 80% of Americans oppose the Republican plan to gut Medicare. But they also oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicaid.
The Republican budget would immediately drive up the cost of prescription drugs and annual checkups for America’s seniors, and double their out-of-pocket health care costs in the future.
Senate Republicans have collected more than $20 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry — the same special interests that have spent almost $100 million since the new law passed trying to get rid of it. Last year, the biggest insurance companies enjoyed almost $12 billion in profits.