I am committed to addressing the challenges facing Social Security and in protecting it for current workers, as well as future retirees.
Many seniors live on a fixed income, and I know how important Social Security checks are for their medicines and day-to-day living expenses. Based on current forecasts, Social Security can pay full benefits until 2033, after which it will only be able to pay 75 percent of its benefits. In 2011, Social Security saw its expenditures exceed its revenues for the first time in the program's history.
I am very committed to addressing the challenges facing Social Security and in protecting it for current workers, as well as future retirees. While the system is not facing an imminent crisis, it will face some irrefutable structural problems in the not-too-distant future. And every year that we delay addressing the issue, the solutions become more expensive and more painful.
I support legislation that would make changes to Social Security for the next generation of recipients, those under 55, while leaving the current system in place for those who have planned their retirements around it.
Like Social Security, Medicare has become a critical component of the social safety net upon which many of our senior citizens rely. And also like Social Security, Medicare is on an unsustainable funding path that will render it bankrupt by 2024 unless significant reforms are undertaken. And making matters even worse, the healthcare reform that was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, cuts an additional $718 billion from Medicare.
While in Congress, I have supported the Ryan Budget, which will make no changes to Medicare for those 55 and older. Under this plan, those 54 and younger will have the option of keeping traditional Medicare or moving into a program modeled after Medicare Part D, one of the only government programs to ever come in under budget by 40 percent.
More on Social Security
This week the 115th Congress will be sworn in and will immediately be faced with a host of challenges and opportunities. I am honored to serve another term as the Representative for the Fourth District of Oklahoma. When I was first elected in 2002, I was proud to serve with a Republican Administration and in the majority party in Congress. Six years later my party was the minority party and the United States had elected a Democratic president. In November 2016, the voters elected a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.
As long as President Obama is in office and Republicans control Congress, the nation will remain in an era of divided government. Given our system of checks and balances, true negotiation must take place and real compromise must be reached to govern effectively. And like I’ve said on numerous occasions, neither side can ever get all that it wants in a negotiation. In fact, in a true negotiation you’ll always get less than you want and give up more than you’d like.
The Department of Treasury and Office of Management and Budget recently reported that the annual federal deficit had declined to its lowest level in years. At first glance, this sounds like very good news, and predictably President Obama was quick to claim it as his victory. However, even though the report certainly signals that some responsible choices have been made to slow the rate of spending, the reality is that the government still consistently spends outside its means and in so doing adds to our country’s already heavy burden of debt.
Oklahoma Economic Report - Congressman Tom Cole
Perhaps the most daunting issue that we face as Americans is the massive amount of public debt that exists and the rate at which it is growing. Certainly, the staggering number of nearly $18.4 trillion calls for real solutions to change the debt trajectory. In an effort to return our nation to fiscally-firm footing, it’s important to consider how we reached this point while also recognizing the areas where we’ve been successful.