Debbie Stabenow on Social Security
Democratic Jr Senator; previously Representative (MI-8)
Led the fight to stop privatization
Q: Would you support taxing amounts above $94K to shore up Social Security?
BOUCHARD: She voted to give Social Security to illegal immigrants. We need to fix that situation. There are men and women at home who are worried about having their benefits.
Committing identity theft is fundamentally wrong. I will stop that. That’s what Michigan needs. Less partisan wrangling, less filibusters. We need results.
STABENOW: Social Security is NOT given to illegals, and I didn’t vote for it.
I believe Social Security is a great Amer. success story. He supports privatization of Social Security. I was proud to lead [the fight to] stop privatization. We need to put more funds into that system.
I want to keep the security in Social Security. My opponent sent me a thank you note for funding that he received as a result of my votes.
Source: 2006 Michigan Senate Debate in Grand Rapids, x-ref Bouchard
, Oct 15, 2006
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 YES 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
Create Retirement Savings Accounts.
Stabenow adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Balance America’s Commitments to the Young and the Old
An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees. Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does. We can’t just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs. The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today’s workers and future generations. In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s. Social Security,
for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs. Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC7 on Aug 1, 2000
- Honor our commitment to seniors by ensuring the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare.
- Make structural reforms in Social Security and Medicare that slow their future cost growth, modernize benefits (including a prescription drug benefit for Medicare), and give beneficiaries more choice and control over their retirement and health security.
- Create Retirement Savings Accounts to enable low-income Americans to save for their own retirement.
Rated 90% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.
Stabenow 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
Reject privatization; don't raise the retirement age.
Stabenow 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
Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".
Stabenow 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.
Stabenow 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.
Stabenow co-sponsored 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.
Other candidates on Social Security:
Debbie Stabenow on other issues:
Senate races 2019-20:
Senate Votes (analysis)
Email Contact Form
Senate Office SH-133, Washington, DC 20510
Page last updated: Jul 13, 2020