PENN YAN, NY – Candidate for Congress Tracy Mitrano (D-Penn Yan) is on the offensive this week, claiming incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) will help to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits to those who need them most if he is reelected to another term in Washington.
“I can not stress enough how important it is for the voters of this district to understand very clearly that this is Mr. Reed’s policy. This is his plan and it will deeply affect their lives,” Mitrano said during a conference call with media on Tuesday.
Mitrano, who is seeking to replace Reed as the next representative in New York’s 23rd Congressional District says the Republican Party is planning to balance the federal budget by making sweeping cuts to federal discretionary spending, including drastic cuts to social welfare programs.
Under the GOP plan, Medicare funding would be reduced by $537 billion over the next ten years, while Social Security funding would be cut by $4 billion over the same period.
Mitrano said the cuts are being proposed because the GOP-controlled congress has to find a way to balance the federal budget after its tax reform plan was approved at the end of last and, adding that the proposed cuts to do so would be unfair to Americans, because both programs are safety nets that they’ve paid into.
“This is not some kind of gift from the federal government. This is an insurance program for healthcare and for other financial resources to be sure that people have them available upon their retirement. To suggest that we can use them to pay off this gargantuan debt that is resulting in an enormous windfall for the richest Americans is an insult to the people of this district,” Mitrano said.
Mitrano’s comments were partly in response to Reed’s comments in June that reform of Medicare and SSI were necessary in order to prevent the two plans from becoming insolvent.
At that time, Reed said he would be in favor discussing of several reform proposals, including raising or eliminating the payroll tax cap on Medicare, upping the age eligibility for both social security and Medicare, and changing the way Medicare funds are given out by shifting from a fees-for-service model to a value based model.
“But bottom line: if folks want to deny the existence of the problem that the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare represent, that’s there choice,” Reed said. “But I’m willing to accept what I think is a foregone conclusion that if we do nothing, Social Security and Medicare will collapse and it will be devastating for millions of Americans that are caught in that situation.”
Mitrano said there are currently 166,000 residents in the 23rd district alone who depend on the programs and the next Congress will have to take strong and immediate action to strengthen and expand Social Security and Medicare to ensure that for decades to come, Americans receive the benefits for which they have paid and which they deserve.