Barbara Lee on Social Security
Democratic Representative (CA-9)
Voted NO on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable.
Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would raise the amount individuals may contribute to traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts and to 401[k] plans and make pensions plans more portable
Reference: Bill sponsored by Portman, R-OH;
Bill HR 10
; vote number 2001-96
on May 2, 2001
Voted NO on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits.
Vote to pass a bill that would reduce the percentage of Social Security benefits that is taxable from 85 to 50 percent for single taxpayers with incomes over $25,000 and married couples with incomes over $32,000. The revenues that would be lost for the Medicare trust fund would be replaced by money from the general fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX;
Bill HR 4865
; vote number 2000-450
on Jul 27, 2000
Voted YES on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox.
Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.
Reference: Motion to Recommit introduced by Rangel, D-NY;
Bill HR 1259
; vote number 1999-163
on May 26, 1999
Changing Social Security disproportionately affects women.
Lee co-sponsored changing Social Security disproportionately affect women
RESOLUTION: Recognizing the unique effects that proposals to reform Social Security may have on women.
Source: H.RES.128 01-H128 on May 1, 2001
- Whereas the Social Security benefit structure is of particular importance to low-earning wives and widows, with 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receiving wife's or widow's benefits;
- Whereas 3/4 of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income;
- Whereas without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%;
- Whereas women tend to live longer and tend to have lower lifetime earnings than men do;
- Whereas women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time; and
Whereas during these years in the workforce, women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes the unique obstacles that women face in ensuring retirement security and survivor and disability stability and the essential role that Social Security plays in guaranteeing inflation-protected financial stability for women throughout their entire old age, and it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Congress and the President should take these factors into account when considering proposals to reform the Social Security system.
Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.
Lee scores 100% 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
Reject privatization; don't raise the retirement age.
Lee 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
Exclude Medicare and Social Security from deficit reduction.
Lee signed Sense of Congress on Deficit Reduction
Expresses the sense of Congress that:
Source: H.CON.RES.72 11-HCR72 on Aug 1, 2011
- any deficit reduction plan put forward by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction should not balance the budget by eroding America's hard-earned retirement plan and social safety net;
- Medicare's ability to deliver high quality health care in a cost-efficient manner should be strengthened and its benefits should be preserved for current and future retirees;
- appropriate reform to strengthen Social Security's long-term outlook should ensure that it remains a critical source of protection for the people of the
United States and their families without further increasing the retirement age or otherwise decreasing benefits; and
- federal funding for the Medicaid program should be maintained so that senior citizens, poor and disabled children, and others with disabilities are able to gain and retain access to affordable health care.
Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".
Lee 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-HCR34 on Apr 18, 2013
Rated 98% by ARA, indicating a pro-Trust Fund stance.
Lee 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.
Supported pension reform and tax credits for long-term care.
Lee adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women’s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 7: RETIREMENT:
- HR1102—Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act—provide for pension reform (Portman/Cardin)
- HR2102—Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 1999—allow deducting long-term care insurance premiums and a credit for individuals with long term care needs. (N. Johnson/Thurman)
- HR2261—Health Insurance Affordability and Equity Act of 1999—provide incentives for health coverage by providing credits and deductions for unemployed and self-employed to cover health care costs. (N. Johnson)
- HR1021—Small Business Pension Start-Up Credit Act of 1999—allow small employers a credit against income tax for costs incurred in establishing a qualified employer plan (Stabenow/Camp)
- HR957—Farm and Ranch Risk Management Act—allow farmers to put money into the equivalent of IRAs to cover expenses during
downturns in the market. (Hulshof/Thurman)
The Caucus supports efforts to ensure that the unique needs of women are recognized and addressed in efforts to shore up Social Security. The Caucus supports efforts to educate women about pension plans and encourage women to save for retirement. The Caucus recognizes that:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC10 on Jul 15, 1999
- 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receive wife’s or widow’s benefits.
- Three-quarters of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income.
- Without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%.
- Women tend to live longer and have lower lifetime earnings than men.
- Women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time
- Women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn.
Page last updated: May 14, 2020