February 14, 2000
Keeping Promises about Social Security
Votes Speak Louder Than Words
On occasion I hear comments like "you just don't vote with the majority enough." Some cannot understand it when I vote with a small group of people or by myself. But when I talk to people in my district and tell them how I feel about a particular issue, I believe that I owe it to them to vote in Washington in a fashion that is consistent with what I tell them. If I give my word to the people, I believe I must then vote the way I tell them that I will. This is what I must do even when it means that my votes will not be popular with politicians in Washington, even with some in my own political party.
Recently in national politics, we have heard some claim to tell people the truth "no matter what." For me, that has always been my policy. If I tell you what I will do, that is exactly what I will do.
That is why I was heartened when recently, the independent, nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation praised me as one of only seven members of the House of Representatives who voted not to spend one penny of the Social Security trust fund on other government programs last year. Right now nearly every politician is claiming to have saved Social Security, but according to this independent group, only seven Members Congress actually voted that way last year. Yes, this is exactly why I can sometimes vote with only a handful of others, because I pledged to not spend Social Security trust fund dollars on other programs. While many people in Washington say they agree, this non-partisan organization says only a handful really vote that way.
By the way, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is a 300,000 member, nationwide organization. And this NTU study shows that politicians developed tricks to hide the fact that they spent money from American senior's retirement accounts.
In recent years, President Clinton and Congress have claimed to produce a balanced budget, but this has only come as a result of taking money out of the Social Security trust fund. I believe that no funds should be spent out of the Social Security trust fund except to pay pensions to beneficiaries. My top priority this Congress is to protect senior's retirements. That is why the first bill I introduced this term was HR 219, the Social Security Preservation Act. This bill will make it illegal for politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to continuing dipping into the trust funds.
Each year the President and Congress take the money Americans pay into Social Security and use it for purposes other than paying pensions. Simply, they are stealing from our senior citizens. The Social Security Preservation Act will restore Americans' faith in their retirement. It should be illegal for the government to use the trust fund for any purpose except administering the Social Security system.
According to NTU Director of Congressional Analysis Jeff Dircksen, these seven Members are a rare example of Congressmen who have established a voting record of protecting the Social Security system, as opposed to dipping into it to pay for pork-barrel projects and other spending increases.
"Washington quickly adapted to the era of budget surpluses. The longer the surpluses stay in Washington, the greater the chance they will be spent," Dircksen said. "Taxpayers would be much better off if more members of Congress would vote like these seven. It's good to see someone taking a stand for the taxpayers and for their constituents." '
I thank Mr. Dircksen and the NTU for their sentiments, and I wholeheartedly agree that it is high time the entire Congress took a real stand. I have offered a bill, HR 219, which will allow them to do just that - take a stand by joining us in saying "hands off Social Security" and also in doing something about it.