Congressman Obey spoke with Merrill senior citizens Tuesday

Seventh District Congressman Dave Obey spoke with seniors at the Merrill Area Community Center Tuesday about Social Security, Medicare and the need for closing tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

In remarks to the crowd Obey said that the main difference between Democrats and Republicans in Congress these days is whose side they are on. Citing repeated efforts by Democrats to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, while supporting a fairer tax system that requires wealthy companies and Americans who have benefitted the most from society to pay their fair share, Obey cautioned seniors that they have a clear choice this November.

“You may not have agreed with every vote I’ve ever cast. But if you look at the record, you will see that I have spent an entire career protecting the programs that make your life more secure,” said Obey.”The Republican leadership on the Budget Committee has been promoting solutions that would privatize Medicare and turn Social Security from a benefit people have earned to a version of Wall Street Russian roulette. If they had been successful under Bush, seniors would have lost 30 percent of their nest eggs in 2008. There is nothing new about these ideas. Their own campaign coordinator said they need to ‘go back to the exact same agenda’ of tax cuts for the rich and table scraps for everyone else, and their votes prove that’s exactly what they are doing.”

Congressman Obey emphasized that these efforts to privatize Social Security shouldn’t be surprising, considering the history of Republican antagonism toward the programs that provide security to senior citizens.

In 1935 the House Republicans voted 95-1 and Senate Republicans 15-5 to kill Social Security in its cradle. 30 years later, in 1965, they tried to suffocate Medicare by 128-10 in the House and by 18-10 in the Senate.

Obey mentioned the newly passed healthcare reform law that will strengthen Medicare, and provide one-time payments to seniors who struggle with high prescription drug costs due to the donut hole created by Republicans in 2005.

Obey said that in May the House passed a bill to close tax loopholes that provide incentives for shipping American jobs overseas. Republicans voted 170-1 to protect the “grossly unpatriotic” companies looking to take advantage of those loopholes.

“Voters will have a clear choice come November,” Obey said. “Republicans have made it clear who they are in D.C. to serve. If you aren’t a millionaire, Wall Street Bank, or credit card or insurance company, then you’re out of luck.”

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