Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - February 24, 2012
February 24, 2012
It was great to be in the Valley this week! On Tuesday, I visited a few senior centers and discussed the importance of taking action to save Medicare and preserve Social Security for future generations with many of you. I appreciate hearing your concerns and ideas about this critical issue, thank you to those of you who joined in the conversation.
The truth is the Administration's actions will end Medicare and Social Security as we know it. Medicare is already running a bigger deficit than Greece, and the Administration's plan cuts more than $500 million from the program to pay for the implementation of their healthcare reform law. In addition, the President's 2013 budget proposal would allow Social Security to go bankrupt and impose a 23 percent across-the-board cut to all seniors. In its current state, Congress would have to invest more than $9.1 trillion into Social Security just to have enough funds to provide promised benefits through the year 2085. We cannot continue on this detrimental path, and we cannot leave Americans with such great uncertainty in their retiring years.
The Republican plan put forward in the Path to Prosperity ensures that both Medicare and Social Security will remain viable programs for future seniors, and includes no changes for those currently 55 and over. If passed, our plan will implement a premium-support model for younger workers, beginning in 2022. In the same way that Members of Congress choose healthcare plans, future beneficiaries will receive a Medicare payment and will be able to choose a plan that best suits their needs. Young workers will also have the option of investing over one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts that will protect every dollar contributed. The plan backed by Republicans takes into account the extended life expectancy of Americans today and enacts fiscally solvent changes to Medicare and Social Security for the future.
Between events, I stopped to fill my truck with gas and was reminded again that gas prices have already surged past $4.00 a gallon. California has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, and we need legislation that will ease the pain at the pump and reduce our nation's dependency on foreign oil. I co-sponsored three energy bills – H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231 – that will expand American energy production, create jobs, and lower gasoline prices by opening up our country's energy resources. Last year, I voted to pass these bills out of the House. I hoped the Senate would take action on the bills in order to increase domestic production of energy to curb gas prices and create jobs here at home, but they continue to sit in the Senate with no action planned while prices increase. The price of gas threatens the economic growth and it's beyond time the Senate and Administration took this matter seriously.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation announced the allocation level for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is only a ridiculous 30 percent, demonstrating severity of the water crisis in the Central Valley. This is unacceptable. We had one of our wettest years in 2011; and instead of storing the water for future use, we let thousands of acre-feet of water flow from the Delta into the ocean every day. Without adequate storage, we will continue to see this problem year after year. Next week, the House will consider the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act. I co-sponsored this legislation because it will allow for more storage construction, streamline environmental regulations and ensure families and farmers can plan ahead in order to promote economic growth and create jobs here in the Valley.