WASHINGTON WATCH: There’s a whole lot of flip-flopping going on
April 10, 2012
Last April 15, when Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., and then-Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., voted for the pretty extreme Ryan budget, it didn’t bode well for seniors and middle-class families.
Heller – who was later appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to replace Sen. John Ensign, who resigned – told the media that he was proud to be the only member of Congress who would be able to vote for Ryan’s budget twice, once in the House and once in the Senate, which he did on May 26.
However, lately both Heller and Mack are taking another look at Ryan’s plan, and Mack, who recently voted for the plan, said, “You know that budget was a joke, doesn’t balance the budget for years.”
Heller also has backed away, saying he is undecided and needs to look more closely at Medicare before he could support this year’s version of the Ryan plan.
Are some Republicans having a change of heart?
Several Republicans actually voted against the Ryan budget this time around, although it was unanimous last time. Are our seniors and middle-class families finally getting their messages across that they are going to hold members of Congress accountable who support budgets that adversely affect them? Or is it, as some say, just people up for re-election trying to make nice? Regardless of the motivation, seniors need to check out our congressional delegation’s voting record and see how they have voted on issues important to us and make their decisions accordingly. The record is there for all to see.
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For whatever reason they have, I am happy to see Republicans looking more closely at what adversely effects seniors. Ryan’s plan ends Medicare as we have it now for those younger than 55 years of age. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that new beneficiaries could pay more than $1,200 by 2030 and more than $5,900 by 2050 under this plan. There would be a “premium support” payment, but that would probably result in the above costs. Ryan’s plan also goes after Medicaid, Social Security and earnings caps; however, I hope when Ryan’s budget gets to the Senate, saner heads will prevail, and that Heller’s will be among them for a change.
All seniors are entitled to live out their so called “golden years” with dignity and reasonable comfort – not just the “greatest generation,” but the “baby boomers,” those born between 1946 and 1964, who are eligible for these benefits very soon, and all those to follow. We’ve paid our dues, and we have been faithful, patriotic citizens, and we should not be made to feel like we are now a great financial burden and put “out on the ice,” like the Eskimos used to do for their elders who couldn’t produce leather anymore. Let’s not give Ryan this idea, because he just might like it. Stay tuned.
• Janice Ayres is immediate past president of the Nevada Senior Corps Association.