Patrick Leahy on Social Security
Democratic Sr Senator (VT)
Voted NO 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 NO on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt.
This vote limited debate on the amendment offered by Sen. Abraham (R-MI) that would have created a Social Security "lockbox" and establish limits on the public debt. [A YES vote was for a lockbox]. This vote failed because 3/5 of the Senate did not vote.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)54; N)45; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on Amdt #254 to S. 557;
Bill S. 557
; vote number 1999-90
on Apr 22, 1999
Voted NO on allowing Roth IRAs for retirees.
Senator Roth (R-DE) offered this amendment to the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act to allow people older than 70.5 with incomes over $100,000 to move funds from an Individual Retirement Account into a Roth IRA.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)56; N)42; NV)2
Reference: Roth Amdt #2339;
Bill H.R. 2676
; vote number 1998-120
on May 6, 1998
Voted NO on allowing personal retirement accounts.
Vote on an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Finance Committee should consider legislation to use the federal budget surplus to establish personal retirement accounts as a supplement to Social Security.
; vote number 1998-56
on Apr 1, 1998
Voted NO on deducting Social Security payments on income taxes.
Vote on an amendment to establish an income tax deduction for Social Security taxes paid by employees and the self-employed.
Bill S Con Res 57
; vote number 1996-140
on May 22, 1996
Rated 90% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.
Leahy scores 90% 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
Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".
Leahy 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.
- WHEREAS the Social Security program continues to provide modest benefits--averaging approximately $14,000 per year--to more than 53,000,000 individuals
- WHEREAS the Trust Fund can pay full benefits through 2032;
- WHEREAS the Social Security program is designed to ensure that benefits keep pace with inflation through cost-of-living adjustments based on the CPI which measures prices of goods and services;
- WHEREAS the Chained CPI adjusts for projected changes in consumer behavior resulting from price fluctuations known as the 'substitution effect', which occurs when consumers buy alternative goods and services whose prices are rising more slowly than average;
- Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED that the Chained CPI should not be used to calculate cost of living adjustments for
Social Security benefits.
Opponent's argument against bill:(Congressional Testimony by Jeffrey Kling, Congressional Budget Office Associate Director for Economic Analysis, April 18, 2013):
The chained CPI grows more slowly than the trad
Source: H.CON.RES.34 & S.Con.Res.15 13-SCR15 on Apr 18, 2013
Rated 98% by ARA, indicating a pro-Trust Fund stance.
Leahy scores 98% 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.
Other candidates on Social Security:
Patrick Leahy on other issues:
Senate races 2019-20:
Senate Votes (analysis)
Email Contact Form
Page last updated: Jul 16, 2020