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Robert Menendez on Social Security

Democratic Jr Senator; previously Representative (NJ-13)


At forefront of fighting privatizing our “sacred compact”

Using Social Security taxes for private accounts
AARPOpposes
Tom Kean, Jr.Opposes
Robert MenendezOpposes
Q: Will you support or oppose using Social Security taxes to fund private accounts?

A: I believe that the sacrifice, dedication and hard work of America’s “greatest generation” set an example for all generations that followed. As such, I believe that we should honor our parents by making sure they have the opportunity to retire with dignity, prosperity, and security. I hold true to my belief that Social Security is a sacred compact with both today’s seniors and tomorrow’s retirees. And, I am proud to have been at the forefront of the fight to stop President Bush’s scheme to privatize Social Security. Today, I am standing up to protect the pensions of hard-working New Jerseyans, and I am creating new incentives to encourage retirement savings.

Source: AARP Senate candidate questionnaire , Sep 29, 2006

Opposes privatization and fought Bush’s privatization scheme

Q: Do you favor privatization of Social Security?

KEAN: I oppose privatizing Social Security. Unlike my opponent, I also oppose raising Social Security taxes on seniors and giving Social Security benefits to illegal aliens.

MENENDEZ: No, I strongly oppose privatizing Social Security. Unlike Tom Kean Jr., I’ve consistently fought President Bush’s privatization scheme. We must protect benefits, not cut them.

Source: Hall Institute N.J. Senate Virtual Debate (X-ref Kean) , Sep 24, 2006

Against privatization; but says Kean has voted for it

KEAN: Unlike Bob Menendez, I will oppose raiding the Social Security Trust Fund for other government programs. I oppose privatizing Social Security.

MENENDEZ: Tom Kean Jr. cannot erase his record when it comes to privatizing Social Security. On three separate instances he took the Bush position in favor of privatization. In 2000, my opponent said that he backed Bush’s scheme to privatize social security. In the state legislature, Tom Kean Jr. voted to support Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. Twice. Pres. Bush is again rallying his troops--including Tom Kean Jr.--to create private accounts & dip into the Social Security Trust Fund.

KEAN: In 1999, when Bill Clinton proposed investing Social Security in risky privatization scheme, Bob Menendez said, “by investing today, we can be sure Social Security... will be there tomorrow.” Now he says he’s against it. Make no mistake, Bob Menendez is ready to privatize Social Security if it is what the political party bosses tell him to do.

Source: Hall Institute N.J. Senate Virtual Debate [X-ref Kean] , Sep 2, 2006

Voted NO on establishing reserve funds & pre-funding for Social Security.

Voting YES would:
  1. require that the Federal Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund be used only to finance retirement income of future beneficiaries;
  2. ensure that there is no change to benefits for individuals born before January 1, 1951
  3. provide participants with the benefits of savings and investment while permitting the pre-funding of at least some portion of future benefits; and
  4. 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."

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.
Reference: Bill S.Amdt.489 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-089 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted YES 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

Reject proposals for private saving accounts.

Menendez co-sponsored rejecting proposals for private saving accounts

To reject proposals to partially or completely substitute private saving accounts for the lifelong, guaranteed, inflation-protected insurance benefits provided through Social Security. The Congress finds the following:

  1. President Bush promised to partially privatize Social Security, and appointed a commission to develop a plan on his behalf.
  2. The commission developed three alternative plans that would partially privatize Social Security.
  3. The plans divert substantial monies from the Social Security Trust Funds to pay for the private accounts, which threatens benefits for current beneficiaries by significantly weakening the financial condition of the Trust Funds.
  4. The plans' cuts in disability and survivor benefits directly contradict the President's promise that disability and survivor benefits would be preserved under privatization.
  5. Furthermore, these reductions in guaranteed benefits apply to all workers, regardless of whether they chose to have an individual account or not.
  6. Substituting private accounts for guaranteed Social Security benefits increases financial risk for retirees, disabled workers and their families.
  7. Moreover, other proposals to privatize Social Security, such as the 'Social Security Guarantee Plus' plan or the 'Social Security Ownership and Guarantee' plan, establish private accounts that directly or indirectly reduce Social Security benefits.
Source: H.R.4780 02-H4780 on May 21, 2002

Rated 90% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record.

Menendez 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

Other candidates on Social Security: Robert Menendez on other issues:
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Barbara Buono
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NJ Senatorial:
Cory Booker
Frank Pallone
Jeff Bell
Jeff Chiesa
Murray Sabrin
Rush Holt
Steve Lonegan

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Page last updated: Aug 11, 2014