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Congressman Tonko fights Republican cuts to Social Security

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Uploaded on Feb 17, 2011

i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 15 offered by mr. tonko of new york. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from montana rise? mr. rehberg: i reserve a point of order on the gentleman's amendment. the chair: s the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. tonko: i'm concerned about the effects the republican spending plan will have on our nation's seniors. this amendment would stop the cut of $125 million to the social security administration operating budget. slashing funding for the social security administration is slashing money out of social security plain and simple. cuts will directly affect our seniors. there is no way around it and my amendment seeks to avert this i am pending crisis. the funding in this irresponsible republican spending plan is half a billion dollars less what social security spent in 2010 to carry out basic operations but the cost of running social security in 2010 will not sufficient ice for 2011. our nation's baby boomers are retiring growing the number of seniors and the number of claims social security must process each month. this continuing resolution leaves it $1 billion short to keep checks going out on time. this irresponsible republican spending bill creates a shortfall that social security will not have to survive on. both social security and office of management and budget have confirmed that these massive cuts would force social security to lay off nearly employees and close offices across the country up to four weeks. what does this mean for seniors on social security? 400,000 seniors will not have their applications processed this year. it means that 29 ,000 people would not have their disability applications processed and no other source of income. it means that 70,000 fewer people will have their appeals heard burdenening seniors with wait times with over a year before cases can move forward allow them to receive their benefits earned and it means that there will be 32,000 fewer investigations to root improper payments fraud and abuse. each month social security processes nearly half a million new applications from seniors and the disabled. employee layoffs and office closures lasting a month would delay benefits to all those applicants, disrupting seniors and wido a's checks and delaying payments for those trying to live on a fixed income. closing offices would create a backlog of applicants so when offices are reopened is -- they would have a backlog and who knows when they would catch up. never in the history of social security has there been a backlog. this bill is precedent setting and without a doubt it would create the first social security backlog in our nation's history. it would force the social security system to shut its doors for up to a month, something that will affect every person receiving social security payments. people would get busy signals when they call for help. seniors would wait for appoint ments or access to their benefits. the seniors we represent, the entire body here represents will feel the impact of these cuts. the majority is lauding the fact that this bill represents the largest spending cut in the history of our country. if they want to cut, fine, but i will not stand for social security or balanced on the backs of our nation's seniors that bail out the rich and comfortable. madam chair, i urge defeat of this bill, the adoption of my amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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