Feingold’s False Claims About Social Security

In a recent campaign email Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) attempts to knock Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) by claiming that Johnson doesn’t care about the well-being of seniors.

The campaign email declares:

“Speaker Ryan and Senator Johnson would rather give tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans by slashing Social Security and Medicare, forcing our seniors to carry the burden.”

Feingold attempts to paint Johnson and House Speaker Paul Ryan as “extremists,” yet Feingold isn’t as pro-senior citizen as he would like you to think.

On April 22, 1999, Feingold voted in Senate vote 90 against Amendment 254 which had the specific stated purpose of ensuring “that social security surpluses are used for social security reform…”

In March 16, 2008, Feingold again voted in Senate vote 68 against an amendment proposed by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. DeMint’s amendment was attached to an annual, non-binding budget bill. The purpose of the amendment was the creation of “a budget mechanism to allow Congress to consider ways to begin saving the Social Security surplus.”

The amendment also envisioned “providing the option to voluntarily obtain legally binding ownership of at least some portion of each participant’s benefits” should any changes be made to Social Security. Republicans supported the measure 46-8, with one Republican not voting, however the amendment was rejected by the Senate 53-46.

DeMint tried again to amend the budget bill for the next year. The bill’s purpose was to provide a reserve fund for social security, but Feingold again voted against the bill in Senate vote 89 on March 22, 2007.

DeMint had changed the wording to refer to accounts “providing participants with the benefits of savings and investment.” The amendment was supported by Republicans 45-4, with one Republican not voting, but the Democrats had a majority in the Senate at this time, and the amendment was again rejected by the Senate 52-45.

Russ Feingold’s election year posturing makes him appear pro-senior citizen, but his voting record in Washington, D.C. tells a very different story.