WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following yesterday’s release of a budget proposal that would dismantle Medicare and leave the door open for raising the retirement age on Social Security to age 69 or higher, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a news conference call today to outline new legislation he is introducing that would require Members of Congress to “walk in the same shoes” as working Americans.
Brown’s bill, the Shared Retirement Sacrifice Act of 2011, would amend the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) to directly tie the Social Security retirement age to current and future Members of Congress’ access to their federal retirement benefits. On the call, Brown released a county-by-county estimate showing the number of Ohio senior citizens that receive Social Security benefits.
“Raising the Social Security retirement age might sound fair to politicians who come to work every day in a suit and tie, but it’s a nonstarter for working Ohioans who stand on their feet all day long in a restaurant or on a factory floor,” Brown said. “Social Security is under attack by those who falsely think it adds to the federal deficit. These same politicians want to give extra tax cuts to the wealthiest two percent of Americans and tax breaks for big corporations and Big Oil while dismantling Medicare. It’s time for Washington politicians to make the same sacrifices that they’re proposing for millions of Americans.”
“That’s why I’m introducing legislation that would require Members of Congress to ‘walk in the same shoes’ as working Americans by tying their pension and retirement benefits to the Social Security retirement age. If these politicians want to ask Americans to continue working into their late 60s and early 70s before receiving critical retirement benefits, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have to make the same sacrifices as well,” Brown continued.
Currently, Members of Congress can begin collecting pensions as early as age 50, while working Americans cannot collect full Social Security benefits until age 66. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), retirement with an immediate, full pension is available to Members of Congress covered under FERS at age 62 or older with at least five years of federal service; at age 50 or older with at least 20 years of service; and at any age to Members with at least 25 years of service. For Members covered by CSRS, retirement with an immediate, full pension is available to Members age 60 or older with 10 years of service in Congress, or age 62 with five years of civilian federal service, including service in Congress.
So I read this piece yesterday in which Digby discussed the notion that Rep. Paul Ryan’s Crazy Roadmap to the Future is part of a larger design to make the Catfood Commission recommendations look reasonable:
If I were a conspiracy type, I might even think the catfood salesmen on the commission cooked this whole thing up sometime last December when it was obvious that the liberals weren’t going to sign on. But I’m not a conspiracy type so I’d imagine that this is just something they all fortuitously and individually stumbled into on their way to a big donor meeting. There doesn’t have to be a conspiracy — it’s just part of the culture. Look at how the Village greeted Ryan today. Cleopatra would be jealous.
Digby might think that’s crazy talk, but I don’t. That’s why I posed that question to Nancy Pelosi on a blogger conference call she held today on the budget. I said that some of us were concerned that the administration was going to use the Ryan budget to make the deficit commission proposals look reasonable, and asked if she’d speak to that.
The response I got wasn’t all that reassuring.
“If you subtract Social Security from it, [their proposals] to make it more solvent, that doesn’t belong in any discussion about cutting the deficit,” she said. “They shouldn’t include policy decisions about social security. They don’t belong on the same table.”
Once you subtract the Social Security proposals, “there are some good things in the deficit commission report.”
She pointed out their recommendations include a “very big cut in defense” and in revenue earmarks. “There are features that are very good, not the full package,” she said.
Then she said “ninety percent of our focus has to be putting the spotlight on the bad things in their budget.”
I got the distinct impression I was being deflected.
I won’t argue about the “good things” Leader Pelosi says are left in the deficit commission chairmans proposal after we remove the cuts to Social Security.
There are, indeed, what appears to be some good, practical proposals. But Republicans aren’t going to vote for the sensible ideas on their merits. They’ll hold them hostage until they also get their wacky right-wing proposals adopted.
And let’s face it: The Democrats will give it to them.
And can we drop the political game pieces and get back to reality? Republicans don’t care about the deficit. Repeat after me: Republicans don’t care about the deficit. Did you hear a peep out of them during the Bush years? Of course not. Because Republicans don’t care about the deficit.
This is the same game they’ve been playing for decades. It’s just that this time, they’ve got the Democrats running the ball for them.
“I can’t wait for the blood bath in April,” said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. “It won’t matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ‘em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.’ And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary.”
He will “transition” his show. Sorry, the server has crashed and the link no longer works…
UPDATE: Here’s the info.
Karoli at C&L says he’ll be moving his base to RightNetwork at Comcast, wacky Kelsey Grammar’s project. Remember when Comcast lied and said no way were they putting together a right-wing network? It’s all in the details!
This is how Rupert Murdoch runs all his news operations, I’ll bet:
The former head of news and current chief reporter of the News of the World have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in phone hacking, sources said.
Ian Edmondson, 42, and Neville Thurlbeck, 50, were held by Scotland Yard detectives when they attended separate police stations in south-west London by appointment this morning.
The pair were questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages.
These are the first arrests since the Metropolitan Police reopened its inquiry into claims that staff at the top-selling Sunday newspaper hacked into the answerphone messages of celebrities, politicians and Royals.
Continue Reading »
But of course the corporate media didn’t cover it:
Though they don’t want you to know about it, the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling a massive campaign to roll back progressive achievements, and today, labor, civil rights, and climate activists turned out at dozens of rallies across the country to demonstrate against the Koch’s secretive influence in American politics and to stand up for labor and civil rights.
In Washington, D.C. today an estimated 2,000 protesters marched on Koch Industries’ Washington D.C. offices and attempted to give Charles and David Koch an invitation to come out and speak with the protesters. Not surprisingly, the building’s doors were locked and no one was allowed inside. However, a representative from the real estate company which managed the building told an handful of organizers who attempted to deliver the invitation, “I’d be here with you guys if I wasn’t working right now.” Noting that he works for the building, not Koch, he said, “I don’t want to be here.”
The events were scheduled for today because it marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, TN. King traveled to Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers, and was an ardent supporter of workers’ rights. Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr., the senior pastor at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, told ThinkProgress that if King “were alive today, he would be right here at the forefront, no doubt.”
“And that’s why we have to carry this out.”
Last Thursday, tea party activists rallied on Capitol Hill to pressure Republican lawmakers to cut government spending. Crowd estimates ranged from “dozens” to “fewer than 200,” yet the event attracted dozens of reporters and significant media interest, producing hundreds of stories in local and national press. At today’s rally, which was ten times bigger than the tea party one, ThinkProgress spotted three reporters — none from mainstream publications.
Down to 400 votes, too close to call. As always, I suspect skullduggery!