Sheldon Whitehouse on Social Security

Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general


Protect and defend Social Security

Whitehouse, who is seeking his second term in the Senate, cited his work to help constituents, to work with both parties in the Senate and protect federal programs like Social Security from proposals to reduce benefits or change eligibility. "I am going to protect and defend Social Security," Whitehouse said. "Life without (it) would be unimaginably worse for seniors and for younger people."
Source: Boston Globe on 2012 R.I. Senate debate , Oct 23, 2012

Life without Social Security would be unimaginably worse

A voter asked why he didn't fight on behalf of retirees against Rhode Island's pension reforms, but still promises to fight for Social Security. While Whitehouse said Rhode Island leaders came up with a solution that was necessary, he said, unlike pension reform, Social Security is in his authority. "It is my commitment that I am going to protect Social Security. Life without it would be unimaginably worse for seniors and young people," Whitehouse said.

Hinckley countered, saying Democrats have no plan to save Social Security. "Ask yourself, is that fair, to pay into a pension system managed by the government and then get nothing," said Hinckley, who proposed hiring actuaries to bring the system in line. "The problem with Social Security, it's managed by career politicians and not professionals."

Source: WPRI Eyewitness News on 2012 R.I. Senate debate , Oct 23, 2012

Don’t put Soc. Sec. benefits at risk

Using Social Security taxes for private accounts
Lincoln ChafeeOpposes
Sheldon WhitehouseOpposes
Q: Will you support or oppose using Social Security taxes to fund private accounts?

A: Social Security has been the foundation of our country’s promise that no American will have to face an impoverished retirement. The Republican leadership in Washington is committed to undermining this promise through a risky scheme to put Social Security funds in the stock market as part of new private accounts. We should never again put seniors’ livelihoods at risk from a catastrophic stock market crash. I am opposed to President Bush’s proposal to cut Social Security benefits to middle-income workers through progressive indexing, and am disappointed that Senator Chafee has expressed support for this plan.

Source: 2006 AARP Senate candidate questionnaire , Sep 29, 2006

Pro-privatization crowd wants to cut benefits

In the last year alone, Rhode Island seniors had to fear that their Social Security benefits were going to be cut by the pro-privatization crowd in Washington. They’ve been promised lower prescription costs, only to be handed a complicated federal program that will only help a select few who can figure it out. My plan is to make sure that worker’s pensions are treated no differently than the CEO’s pension who govern them.
Source: 2006 Senate website, WhitehouseForSenate.com, “Key issues” , May 2, 2006

Lift limit on withholding from $90,000 to $120,000

We can protect Social Security. We just need the courage to tell the voters we’re going to lift the limit on Social Security withholding from $90,000 to $120,000. That makes a lot more sense than cutting benefits and we can keep Social Security solvent for decades to come.
Source: 2006 Senate website, WhitehouseForSenate.com, “Key issues” , May 2, 2006

Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.

Voting YES would:
  1. require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
  2. ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
  3. provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
  4. 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."

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.
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-089 on Mar 22, 2007

Reject privatization; don't raise the retirement age.

Whitehouse signed the Social Security Protectors Pledge

Some 200 Democratic House and Senate candidates have signed on to a pledge rejecting any effort to privatize or scale back Social Security benefits or raise the retirement age. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee sponsored this pledge among Congressional candidates.

Source: PCCC Survey 10-PCCC on Aug 11, 2010

Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".

Whitehouse co-sponsored Resolution on CPI

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to adjust Social Security benefits.