Sunday, January 3, 2010

Record in Congress Makes for Credibility Problem As McCollum Questions Constitutionality of Health Reform, Social Security, Medicare

Former Congressman Bill McCollum continued his track record of trying to dismantle the American health care system today by joining an exercise in political rhetoric in arguing the constitutionality of current health care reform efforts. McCollum's arguments seem disingenuous at best given his own record in Washington.

"Congressman McCollum's argument is not just silly, it's insulting to the people of Florida given his record of trying to dismantle Social Security and Medicare every chance he could get," said Eric Jotkoff, Florida Democratic Party spokesman. "Under McCollum's flawed logic, Americans are "forced" to have Social Security and Medicare taxes deducted from their paychecks. Is McCollum declaring Social Security and Medicare 'unconstitutional?' Is that why he devoted so much of his Congressional career to undercutting them?"

A list of McCollum's actions in Congress to destabilize and dismantle Social Security and Medicare follow.

Prior to McCollum's announcement today, 10 of 19 Republican Attorneys General across the country have already joined efforts to oppose reform. "Certainly, it was hard to overlook the distinctly nonlegalistic approach various attorneys generals took" as it "attracted the attention of a slew of politically ambitious AGs" some of whom "are running for governor in 2010." [Politico, 12/24/09]


McCollum Voted Seven Times Against Securing Social Security Before Spending Surpluses: In the late 1990's, when both the federal budget and Social Security were running surpluses, McCollum voted seven times against using those surpluses to secure Social Security. McCollum's votes included a May 1999 vote against the Democratic version of the Social Security and Medicare Safe Deposit Box Act of 1999 that would have reserved all federal budget surpluses until Medicare and Social Security were made solvent. In September 1998, McCollum voted against bill that would have transferred the Social Security Surplus to the Federal Reserve, to be held in trust to ensure Social Security's solvency. (Vote 484, 10/6/99; Vote 378, 8/5/99; Vote 163, 5/26/99; Vote 76,3/25/99; Vote 4, 1/6/99; Vote 463, 9/25/98; Vote 115, 4/29/98)

McCollum Prioritized Tax Cuts for Wealthy Over Social Security Five Times: Since 1995, McCollum has repeatedly voted in favor of tax cuts for the richest Americans over ensuring the solvency of Social Security. (Vote 126, 4/13/00; Vote 331, 7/22/99; Vote 332, 7/22/99; Vote 468, 9/26/98; Vote 742, 10/26/95)

McCollum Voted To Cut Social Security By $23 Billion: In 1995, McCollum voted for the FY 1996 Republican Budget Resolution which would have reduced the rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment in federal programs - including Social Security. This reduction in the CPI and the resulting cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security would have had the effect of cutting Social Security by nearly $23 billion over seven years. (Vote 345, 5/18/95; House Action Report 104-2, 5/16/95)

McCollum For Tax Cuts Before Medicare and Social Security Solvency: In 1999, McCollum voted against a substitute amendment to save all the surplus until legislation addressing Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds solvency is enacted. Once solvency for these programs is extended, the substitute calls for net tax cuts of $116 billion over ten years. (CQ; Vote 76, 3/25/99)

One Plan Cut Benefits By Close To 50 Percent: Currently, benefits are indexed to growth in wages, yet one of the Commission's plans proposed indexing benefits to inflation, a move that could have cut benefits by close to 50 percent. According to theWall Street Journal, the plan "would gradually trim initial benefits for succeeding generations of new retirees." (Boston Globe, 11/30/01; Wall Street Journal, 11/30/01; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Social Security Reform, 12/3/01)

McCollum On Social Security: Inclined To Increase Retirement Age: "Congress must tackle Social Security reforms in the near future to ensure the health of the trust funds," said McCollum in 1998 in response to the Orlando Sentinel's Voter Guide. "While I am not tied to one specific proposal, I am inclined to favor a plan permitting some investment of Social Security taxes in the stock market, increasing the retirement age in light of increased life expectancy and productive years, and phasing out benefits for high-income retirees who already have received all they have paid into the system plus interest. I would not support proposals to raise Social Security Taxes or deny benefits to those who have paid into the system." (Orlando Sentinel, 11/1/98)

McCollum Supported Bush's 2000 Plan To Privatize Social Security: "I think that it is very critical to establish a change for the younger generation," said McCollum of his plan to privatize Social Security in 2000. "Certainly we are going to fully fund it and preserve it as it is now for the present and for those about to retire. But I think the savings account system that Texas Governor George W. Bush proposes, where there are conservative investments being made by individuals, is the best way to go." (Lakeland Ledger, 11/3/00)


McCollum Voted Against Assuring Health Insurance Portability: In 1996, McCollum voted against assuring health insurance portability and prohibiting insurers from canceling or refusing coverage based on an employee's health. (CQ; Vote 104, 3/28/96)

McCollum Voted to Cut $3.2 Billion From Medicare Spending in 1990: In 1990 McCollum voted for a Kasich substitute amendment to the fiscal 1991 Budget Resolution that included a $3.2 billion cut in Medicare spending. (HConRes310, Roll Call Vote 84, 4/26/90; Rejected 106-305)

McCollum Voted to Cut Medicare by $27.2 Billion Over Five Years in 1991: In 1991 McCollum voted for a Kasich substitute amendment to Fiscal 1992 Budget Resolution that included Medicare cuts of $27.2 billion over five years. (HConRes121, Roll Call Vote 69, 4/17/91; Rejected 114-303)

McCollum Was One of Only 89 House Members Who Voted to Cut Medicare by $25.2 Billion Over Five Years in 1991: In 1991 McCollum voted for a Gradison substitute amendment to Fiscal 1992 Budget Resolution that included Medicare cuts of $25.2 billion over five years. (HConRes121, Roll Call Vote 70, 4/17/91; Rejected 89-335)

McCollum Was One of Only 60 House Members Who Voted to Cut $138.5 Billion From Medicare, Medicaid Over Five Years in 1992: In 1992 McCollum was one of only 60 members of the United States House of Representatives to vote for a Dannemeyer substitute amendment to the Fiscal Year 1993 Budget Resolution that included $138.4 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid programs over five years. (HConRes287, Roll Call Vote 38, 3/4/92; Rejected 60-344)

McCollum Voted to Cut $34 Billion From Medicare in 1993: In 1993, McCollum voted for a bi-partisan Penny-Kasich amendment to a 1993 spending cut resolution that included $34 billion in Medicare cuts. (HR3400, Roll Call Vote 609, 11/22/93; Rejected 213-219)

McCollum Voted Twice In 1995 Against Keeping Medicaid Mandates: In 1995, McCollum twice voted against keeping federal mandates that pertain to Medicaid. (CQ; Vote 66, 1/30/95, Voted 68, 1/31/95)

McCollum Voted Four Times Against Medicare Solvency in 1999: In 1999, McCollum repeatedly voted against requiring that all federal budget surpluses be reserved and no tax cuts be enacted until Medicare and Social Security are solvent. (CQ; Vote 331,7/22/99; Vote 163, 5/26/99; Vote 76, 3/25/99; Vote 484, 10/6/99)

1995-1997: McCollum Voted Against Medicare Funding 15 Times: Between 1995-1997, McCollum has voted at least 15 times either for proposals to cut Medicare funding or against proposals to increase Medicare funding at a total of $870 billion. McCollum's votes include his eight votes in 1995 for a $270 million cut in Medicare that would have been the largest in history. (CQ; Vote 345, 7/30/97; Vote 241, 6/25/97; Vote 236,6/12/96; Vote 345, 5/18/95; Vote 820, 11/20/95; Vote 812, 11/17/95; Vote 801,11/15/95; Vote 743, 10/26/95; Vote 731, 10/19/95; Vote 727, 10/19/95; Vote 726,10/19/95; Vote 458, 6/29/95; Vote 344, 5/18/95; Vote 343, 5/18/95; Vote 342,5/18/95)

McCollum Voted Twice Times in 1997 To Cut Medicare by $115 Billion: In 1997, McCollum for the FY1998 budget reconciliation bill that cut Medicare by $115 billion. In 1997, McCollum voted for the conference report on the FY1998 Budget Reconciliation that cut Medicare by $115 billion. (CQ; Vote 345, 7/30/97; Vote 241, 6/25/97)

McCollum Voted To Cut $158 Billion From Medicare In 1996: In 1996, McCollum voted for the conference report on the FY1997 Budget Resolution that cut Medicare by $158.1 billion over six years. (Vote 236, 6/12/96)

McCollum Voted 8 Times To Cut Medicare By $270 Billion - Would Have Been The Largest Cut In Medicare History: In 1995, McCollum voted with the Republican leadership to cut Medicare by $270 billion. In fact, McCollum voted lockstep with the Republican plan to gut Medicare eight times. President Clinton vetoed the bill. (CQ; Vote 820, 11/20/95; Vote 812, 11/17/95; Vote 801, 11/15/95; Vote 743, 10/26/95; Vote 731,10/19/95; Vote 727, 10/19/95; Vote 726, 10/19/95; Vote 458, 6/29/95; St. Louis Post Dispatch, 10/17/95)

McCollum Voted Against Three Proposals To Decrease 1995 Medicare Budget Cuts: During initial debate on the Fiscal 1996 Budget Resolution, McCollum voted against three Democratic substitute amendments that would have decreased the Medicare funding cuts included in the GOP bill. The amendment that came closest to passing would have reduced the Medicare funding cut by $114 billion. (CQ; Vote 344, 5/18/95; Vote 343, 5/18/95; Vote 342, 5/18/95)

McCollum Voted To Freeze Reimbursement Rates For Medicare Programs: In 1995, McCollum voted for final passage of the bill to cut taxes by $189 billion over five years. The cuts were offset through a variety of proposals including freezing reimbursement rates in certain Medicare programs. (CQ; Vote 295, 4/5/95)

McCollum Voted Against Reducing Medicare Cuts From $270 Billion To $90 Billion: In 1995, McCollum voted against reducing Medicare cuts from $270 billion to $90 billion. The reduction was part of the Democratic substitute on Medicare revisions. (CQ; Vote 729, 10/19/95)

McCollum Supported Moves to Privatize Medicare: Addressing Medicare reform in 2000, McCollum said he voted for a bill that would have created a "public-private" partnership to encourage insurance companies to offer health-insurance policies with prescription-drug coverage. The program he supported would have replaced Medicare with a federal guarantee that the insurance companies wouldn't lose money. "I think it's a good plan," he said. "I believe this is one that provides the best of all worlds." At the time, thousands of elderly residents throughout Florida had lost their Medicare HMOs after insurance companies stopped providing the coverage, a problem expected to worsen. (Orlando Sentinel, 7/7/00)

2000: McCollum Voted Against Requiring Prescription Drug Plan Access in Rural Areas: McCollum voted against requiring a Medicare prescription drug benefit to require availability in all rural areas. McCollum voted against a motion to recommit Prescription Drugs to the House Ways and Means Committee with instructions to report it back with a Medicare prescription plan made available to all Medicare beneficiaries, including those in rural areas. [Vote #356, HR 4680, 6/28/00, motion failed 204-222 (R 0-219, D 203-2)

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