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Mazie Hirono on the status of Medicare and Social Security

October 26, 2011
Mazie Hirono
Marvin Buenconsejo

Marvin Buenconsejo, Communications Director for Congresswoman Mazie Hirono participated in the meet and greet at the ILWU Hall on Tuesday, Oct 25 and delivered the following message to the audience from Congresswoman Hirono:

Aloha and welcome to everyone and mahalo to the Big Island Labor Alliance on hosting today’s event.    As you well know, organized labor across our nation helped build the middle class. I’ve met with union members throughout our islands and each has shared with me the vital role their union plays to boost our economic.

Yet, we all see efforts in Congress to cut back on the hard-earned rights of our union members.

Now more than ever, I continue the fight to protect these rights from being whittled away. 

I serve on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. This week, the Republican leadership of our committee is considering a bill that would allow companies to use a variety of delay tactics to stop their employees from even voting whether to join a union. On this issue and other attempts to weaken the National Labor Relations Board, I will stand strong on the side of our labor unions and our middle class families.

I believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have a chance to make it in this country.

 Social Security and Medicare are part of that promise to the American people. Today, close to 55 million Americans rely on Social Security, including 214,000 in Hawaii.  And 193,000 Hawaii seniors are enrolled in Medicare. These are the most successful anti-poverty and health care programs we have.

 My own mother, who is 87-years-old, relies on these crucial programs, so I know its importance firsthand.

 Now, for the first time since 2009, there will be a Social Security COLA of 3.6% this year. Our seniors see rising costs of food and medicine every day. Hawaii residents not only have the highest life expectancy in the nation but also experience costs that reflect an economy based on imported goods. Despite these rising costs for seniors, the COLA formula found that inflation was not enough to provide a COLA in 2010 or 2011. I support legislation to use a more realistic COLA that takes into account the costs of food and medicines most of our seniors buy. This would make a big difference for so many of our seniors.

 We can all agree that we need to bring down our deficit. But we can’t have an agreement on the backs of seniors and the middle class, while the millionaires and billionaires don’t pay their fair share. Our families in Hawaii deserve better.

 Republicans tried to pass a budget in the spring to weaken Social Security, convert Medicaid into a block grant system, and destroy Medicare as we know it.

 They talk about fairness and everyone needing to sacrifice their fair share.  But where is the justice?  Where’s the aloha?

 I recently sent a letter telling the Super Committee not to cut Social Security or Medicare. Seniors pay into Social Security throughout their lives and expect it to be there when they retire.

 Did you know people don’t pay any part of their income above $106,800 into Social Security? Two-thirds of Americans support “scrapping the cap,” which would extend Social Security’s solvency for another 75 years.  I support the Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act, a bill to make sure people pay their fair share into Social Security.

 We need to keep fighting for seniors’ health care, Social Security, and Medicare. Hawaii’s seniors deserve nothing less.

 Aloha and Mahalo,          Mazie K. Hirono      Member of Congress           Hawaii -2nd District

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2011 12:19 pm

    The messages from Maizie and Jerry both bring a sigh of relief from this seventy four year old retired Hawaii teacher. Make your voices heard, please, and if you need us to help you shout, let it be known exactly how we can help. Our voices aren’t so loud, any more, but if there are enough of us, we can make ourselves heard. Thank YOU, both! With Aloha, Sharon L. Lehman

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