Lindsey Graham on Social Security
Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (SC-3)
Link size of cost of living increases to income
Graham: What would I do to save Social Security? Whatever it takes. I make $175,000 a year, as a Senator. I have a military retirement. I have a congressional retirement. I'll take less than benefits, to make sure somebody like my aunt who worked in
the textile plants, who can't afford to get less. I think COLA, for upper income people like me, you shouldn't get the same COLA, as somebody on a fixed income. if you can afford to take a little bit less, do it.
Source: 2020 South Carolina Senate debate (Rev.com transcript)
, Oct 3, 2020
50% of seniors would be in poverty without Social Security
Social Security is not a concept to me. I know why it exists; 50% of today's seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. If it wasn't for a Social Security survivor benefit check coming into my family, we wouldn't' have made it because
my dad died 15 months later. I have a military retirement. I'm in good shape. I would give up some of my benefits to help those who need it more than I do. To young people here, I will ask you to work a little bit longer because we have to.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 2nd-tier debate
, Oct 28, 2015
I don't want a lecture about Soc.Sec,; I want to save it
When my mom died, I was 21. When my dad died, I was 22. We were wiped out financially. If it weren't for Social Security survivor benefit check coming into Darline, we wouldn't have made it.
I don't need a lecture from Democrats about Social Security. I want to save it, just like Ronald Reagan did.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN
, Sep 16, 2015
Half of seniors would be in poverty without Soc.Sec. check
We're going to lose Social Security and Medicare if Republicans and Democrats do not come together and find a solution like Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill. I will be the Ronald Reagan if I can find a Tip O'Neill.
When I was 21, my mom died.
When I was 22, my dad died. We owned a liquor store, restaurant, bar and we lived in the back. Every penny we needed from--every penny we got from Social Security, because my sister was a minor, we needed. Today, I'm 60, I'm not married,
I don't have any kids. I would give up some Social Security to save a system that Americans are going to depend on now and in the future.
Half of American seniors would be in poverty without a Social Security check. If you make your president,
I'm going to put the country ahead of the party. I'm going to do what it takes to defend this nation. This nation has been great to me, and that's the only way I know to pay you back.
Source: Fox News/Facebook Second Tier debate transcript
, Aug 6, 2015
Voted YES on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.
Voting YES would:
- require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
- ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
- provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
- ensure that the funds made available to finance such legislation do not exceed the amounts estimated to be actuarially available.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Perhaps the worst example of wasteful spending is when we take the taxes people pay for Social Security and, instead of saving them, we spend them on other things. Even worse than spending Social Security on other things is we do not count it as debt when we talk about the deficit every year. So using the Social Security money is actually a way to hide even more wasteful spending without counting it as debt.
This Amendment would change that.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This amendment has a fatal flaw. It leaves the door open for private Social Security accounts by providing participants with the option of "pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits."
This body has already closed the door on the President's ill-conceived plan for private Social Security accounts. The opposition to privatization is well-known:Make no mistake about it, this is a stalking-horse for Social Security. It looks good on the surface, but this is an amendment to privatize Social Security.
Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-089
on Mar 22, 2007
- Privatizing Social Security does nothing to extend the solvency of the program.
- Transition costs would put our Nation in greater debt by as much as $4.9 trillion.
- Creating private accounts would mean benefit cuts for retirees, by as much as 40%.
- Half of all American workers today have no pension plan from their employers. It is critical that we protect this safety net.
Voted YES on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable.
Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would raise the amount individuals may contribute to traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and to 401[k] plans and make pensions plans more portable
Reference: Bill sponsored by Portman, R-OH;
Bill HR 10
; vote number 2001-96
on May 2, 2001
Voted YES on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits.
Vote to pass a bill that would reduce the percentage of Social Security benefits that is taxable from 85 to 50 percent for single taxpayers with incomes over $25,000 and married couples with incomes over $32,000. The revenues that would be lost for the Medicare trust fund would be replaced by money from the general fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX;
Bill HR 4865
; vote number 2000-450
on Jul 27, 2000
Voted NO on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox.
Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.
Reference: Motion to Recommit introduced by Rangel, D-NY;
Bill HR 1259
; vote number 1999-163
on May 26, 1999
Create personal retirement accounts within Social Security.
Graham co-sponsored creating personal retirement accounts within Social Security
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
- Amends Social Security Act to add a new tax-exempt "Personal Retirement Account Program".
- Designates a personal retirement account for each such individual that is funded by deposits from amounts in the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund not otherwise required for immediate withdrawal, and by rollover and other contributions made by eligible individuals.
- Directs the SEC to report to Congress on personal retirement account reinsurance.
- Amends the tax code to provide for: (1) annual $300 contributions (tax credits) on behalf of each eligible individual to a personal retirement account; and (2) an excise tax on excess contributions to such accounts.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: One of the things I have consistently heard from folks back home is the very simple idea that the first part of saving Social Security is making sure that Social Security taxes stay with Social Security.
That is what this bill does because it takes the Social Security surplus, whatever that happens to be, and simply rebates it back to the people paying Social Security taxes, not to go out and fix up the car or buy a refrigerator with it, but instead to go into their own personal Social Security savings account that would be held by a fiduciary like the local bank.
The individual could not get their hands on the money until they turn 65, but they would get a monthly statement and for the first time, because of the private property rights that come with an account like that, for the first time have a firewall created between political forces in D.C. and their Social Security surplus.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means; never called for a House vote.
Source: Personal Lockbox Act (H.R.4839) 00-HR4839 on Jul 12, 2000
Rated 20% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record.
Graham scores 20% by the ARA on senior issues
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: ARA website 03n-ARA on Dec 31, 2003
Rated 9% by ARA, indicating a pro-privatization stance.
Graham scores 9% Alliance for Retired Americans
Scoring system for 2014: Ranges from 0% (supports privatization and other market-based reforms) to 100% (supports keeping federal control over Trust Fund and Social Security system).
About ARA (from their website, www.RetiredAmericans.org):
The Alliance for Retired Americans is a nationwide organization, founded in May 2001, with now over 4.2 million members working together to make their voices heard in the laws, policies, politics, and institutions that shape our lives. The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security.
Source: ARA lifetime rating on incumbents of 113th Congress 14_ARA on Jan 1, 2013
- Alliance members visit the polls in record numbers. We use the power of our membership and our Congressional Voting Record to educate and mobilize seniors to elect leaders committed to improving the lives of retirees and older Americans.
We are effectively warding off cuts to our most important social programs like Social Security and Medicare. Our Human Chain Against the Chained CPI events in the summer of 2013 took place in more than 50 cities and mobilized support for stopping this cut to earned Social Security benefits.
- We blocked the privatization of Social Security with our Social Security "Truth Truck" delivering 2.1 million petitions to Members of Congress and other tactics.
- The Alliance makes its voice heard on the issues that matter not just to current retirees, but to all Americans who hope to retire one day. We were a leading voice in recent debates considering changes to Medicare, like replacing guaranteed benefits with a voucher system, and remain so in 2014.
Reduce taxes on Social Security earnings.
Graham signed the Contract with America:
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The Senior Citizens Fairness Act:
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA9 on Sep 27, 1994
Raise the Social Security earnings limit, which currently forces seniors out of the workforce; repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security; and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.
Other candidates on Social Security:
Lindsey Graham on other issues:
James Emerson Smith
Gloria Bromell Tinubu
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Page last updated: Oct 23, 2020