Rare bipartisanship in Congress on retirement issuesNews added by Benefits Pro on May 30, 2014

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By Nick Thornton

Bipartisanship on vital retirement issues like Social Security reform would appear to be a pipedream, according to voting records tracked by the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The advocate group for retirees released its annual report Thursday, scoring the voting records of all members of the House and Senate on retirement issues like raising the retirement age, fast-tracking cuts to Social Security benefits, privatizing Medicare, and repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Ten votes in each body of Congress were scored on a 100-point system, 100 being a perfect score and in line with the alliance’s policy positions.

In the House, 154 members achieved a perfect score of 100 in 2013. They were all Democrats. And 132 received a score of zero. They were all Republicans. A news release from the alliance points out that Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., was among those to have scored zero.

In the Senate, 47 members scored 100, all Democrats, and 16 scored zero, all Republicans.

Only 10 Republican members of the House mustered a score over 30. Six were either from New Jersey or New York, traditionally blue states. Incidentally, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, scored as high as any lawmaker on his side of the aisle with a mark of 50, though he only voted on two of the issues tracked. Boehner voted against alliance policy when he voted to privatize Medicare.

Two Republican senators scored 30 or above. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., scored 30, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Mass., scored a 40.

“It was a year of endless attempts to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and repeal health care reform,” said Barbara Easterling, president of the alliance. “In contrast, simultaneous to the attacks on core retiree programs, income inequality grew. For more than a decade, the wealthiest Americans have received trillions in tax breaks while older Americans have continued to see rising drug, health care, food and energy costs.”

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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