By TIM ROWDEN
The Alliance for Retired Americans’ 2018 Congressional Voting Record, ranking U.S. senators and representatives on their votes on important retirement security issues found last year’s new Congress continued the unproductive ways of the last several Congresses, attacking the core retiree programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as well as the pro-retiree provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
As America ages, issues like retirement security, the declining availability of guaranteed pensions and threats to the Social Security and Medicare systems continue. Seniors and the nation deserve better.
The Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of retired trade union members affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Federation, as well as non-union, community-based members.
The Alliance examined 10 key Senate and House votes from 2018, from the confirmation of Alex Azar for secretary of health and human services to work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to opioid treatment under Medicare.
Forty-two members of the Senate and 123 members of the House of Representatives achieved perfect scores in 2018. But ultimately, the report found that despite rising inequality across the country, many in Congress continued to attack important retiree programs and policies. The top earning Americans received trillions in tax breaks while older Americans suffered from rising drug, health care, food and energy bills.
Illinois Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth received perfect scores.
In Missouri, now former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill received a perfect score while Republican Senator Roy Blunt scored only 30 percent.
In the House, only Congressman Lacy Clay (D-1st District) scored 100 percent. Democrat Immanuel Cleaver (D-5th District) was a close second at 90 percent.
In Illinois, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-2nd District), Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-5th District), Danny K. Davis (D-7th District) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-9th District) scored a perfect 100 percent with no instances of not voting. Illinois Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-1st Distirct) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-4th District), who retired at the end of the term, also scored 100 percent but missed a couple of votes.
“The last Congress took little action to ensure retirement security for all Americans,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance.
November 2018 saw the work of Congress judged at the election polls.
“Retirees, who vote in the greatest numbers, helped elect a new majority to the U.S. House,” Fiesta said. “Retirees will be watching to see if pro-retiree policies are championed with a new party in the majority.”