Colleen Hanabusa, who refuses to sign the Grayson-Takano letter, is now accusing incumbent progressive Senator Brian Schatz of voting for the 2013 budget that, in her words, "slashed Social Security".
Try as we might, we cannot find anywhere that this bill "slashed Social Security".
If Hanabusa cares about Social Security, why won't she sign the Grayson-Takano letter? It draws a line in the sand to prevent erosion of Social Security through sleights-of-hand such as Chained CPI or raising the age of retirement. If Hanabusa really wanted to protect Social Security, she would have signed the letter instead of supporting the Simpson-Bowles plan.
Her accusation that Sen Schatz "slashed Social Security" is ludicrous since Senator Schatz has made expanding Social Security the centerpiece of his campaign. In fact his first ad advocates for this.
Hanabusa's thin-air claim flies in the face of reality. Schatz is promoting the Harkin-Schatz bill that expands Social Security. Good grief - his name is on it!
» First, it changes the benefit formula to increase benefits by about $65 per month.Hanabusa is trying to confuse people with today's Ryan House budget bill that is DOA in the Senate. But the 2013 budget bill was an entirely different situation
» Second, it changes the way annual cost of living adjustments are calculated so that they better reflect the real costs that seniors face. We cannot allow Social Security checks to fall so behind the actual cost-of-living that many seniors are forced into poverty.
» Third, it removes the wage cap — currently $113,700 — that unfairly shelters the highest earning Americans from paying into Social Security as the majority of hardworking Americans do.
Let's take a closer look at this 2013 budget bill that Sen Schatz (D-HI), Sen Hirono (D-HI) and Rep Gabbard (D-HI) all voted for.
First we set the stage. It's the end of 2013. Speaker Bohner is already trying to send the House home. If they go home without a budget bill passed, then $63,000,000,000 in Sequester cuts kick in. The stock market is jittery and investors are thinking about pulling their money out. We've just had a 16-day government shutdown because the the House won't pass anything resembling a budget bill. We're on the edge of our seats worrying that Congress will go home without a budget bill and the government will shut down again.
With only days to go, the House finally passes their budget bill. The Senate had just enough time for notice, scheduling etc. before the end of the session. If they make any changes, the clock runs out. The Senate scrambles to pass the first budget in three years and head off more disastrous cuts and another government shutdown. Touchdown! We made it!
The deal announced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) would establish spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 in 2015 -- up from the $967 billion under the sequester. It provides for about $63 billion in sequester relief, divided equally among defense and non-defense programs.Was this a good deal? Heck no! But it was the only deal that we could get through the GOP-controlled House and the first budget passed in three years.
The Democrats played it cleverly though. They gave the deficit-obsessed Teaparty some cuts that they knew they could come back and undo with bipartisan support. This included a cut in military retirement cost of living increases. Which they did come back and reverse.
The bottom line is that by passing this admittedly sucky budget, we didn't get worse Sequester cuts of $63 billion and another crippling government shutdown.But Hanabusa knew that when she voted against the 2013 budget deal. Her no vote was purely political since if her vote had made a difference, cuts would have rained down on her state. But she has been able to cleverly cherry-pick noxious elements in an attempt to paint Sen Schatz in a bad light. Or, as in this case, completely make things up.
The fact is that Hanabusa's vote against the 2013 budget was a vote for another government shutdown. The previous shutdown had cost Hawai'i national parks $millions and devastated residents many of whom depend on federal paychecks.NEWSFLASH: When you are being held hostage by a Teaparty-controlled House, you have to compromise. If you are smart like the other three Hawai'i congressional delegates, you hold the harm down to a minimum.
We truly think that Hanabusa is making up this "slashed Social Security" attack because she sees folks enumerating her bad votes and is flailing around trying to find a something - anything - that Sen Schatz voted for that was bad.
Unfortunately, all she can come up with is either cherry picked from the 2013 budget vote or entirely made up.
Hanabusa has the corporations supporting her. Sen Brian Schatz needs us to have his back. Contribute.