BERN NOTICE: Bernie's Lifelong Fight to Expand Social Security

Since he was first sworn in as a Member of Congress, Bernie has always been pushing to protect and expand Social Security

Bern Notice is a production of the Bernie 2020 campaign. Please forward this on to your friends and tell them to subscribe. The views expressed here are solely of the bylined author

With just days until the Iowa caucuses, Social Security continues to be a central focus of the election campaign — which makes sense, considering Bernie has been fighting to protect and expand the program for his entire career. If you think that’s an exaggeration — think again and take a quick walk down memory lane.

When Bernie was first elected to Congress in 1990, Republicans and some Democrats were pushing to cut Social Security. Bernie fought those efforts every single step of the way. As Donald Trump now floats the possibility of Social Security cuts, here are some highlights from Bernie’s record:

1990 — BERNIE OPPOSES “ANY FREEZE OR CUT” IN SOCIAL SECURITY: During his congressional campaign to defeat a Republican incumbent, Sanders declared “I am very much opposed to any freeze or cut in the cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.” [Source: Elder’s Advocate, Fall 1990]

1991 — BERNIE PUSHES LEGISLATION TO EXPAND SOCIAL SECURITY: In his first weeks in Congress in 1991, Bernie was one of only 27 House co-sponsors on H.R. 865, which would increase Social Security benefits for caregivers. That year, Sanders also co-sponsored H.R. 53 to block a reduction in Social Security benefits for survivors. Bernie would go on to support similar legislation throughout his career (for examples, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

1993: BERNIE SAYS “ENTITLEMENT REFORM” MUST NOT INVOLVE SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS: In his newsletter, Bernie declared: “Some people claim that ‘entitlement reform’ is the answer to our government’s fiscal problems. They argue that we must cut back on entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to help balance the budget. I disagree.” He added that he had heard seniors’ concerns “about a proposal to balance the budget by cutting or ‘freezing’ cost of living increases in their Social Security checks…It is important that all of us stand together to oppose this proposal and to make certain that the budget is not balanced on the backs of the elderly, working people or the poor. I will work strenuously to make sure that this proposal does not become law.” [Source: Sanders newsletter, Winter-Spring 1993]

1994: BERNIE SLAMS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD POTENTIALLY CUT SOCIAL SECURITY: In an oped, Bernie wrote that “we must not balance the federal budget by reducing benefits to the most vulnerable members of our society. Social Security benefits have not contributed one penny to the nation’s huge deficit, and I believe Social Security should not be used as a source of cash to reduce the deficit.” In his 1994 reelection campaign, Sanders explicitly opposed cuts to Social Security in flyers and radio ads that say “Bernie Sanders opposes cutting Social Security.” Sanders says “It is imperative that we address the deficit problem that this nation faces, but we can do it without cutting Social Security.”[Source: Sanders oped, 7/18/94; 1994 flyer and radio ad]

1994-1995: BERNIE VOTES AGAINST BUDGET AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD CUT SOCIAL SECURITY: In 1994 and 1995, Bernie voted against balanced budget amendment proposals that would cut Social Security. In a floor speech, Bernie declared that “the balanced budget amendment approach being brought forth by the Republican majority…leaders all serious economists to the conclusion that the balanced budget amendment will be a disaster for working people, for elderly people, for low-income people. It will mean in my view the destruction of the Social Security system as we know it. It will mean savage cuts in Medicare, in Medicaid.” Bernie also co-sponsored legislation “expressing the sense of the Congress that Social Security should be maintained and protected” — the bill said explicitly "that Social Security should be maintained and that any changes to the program should be made only to preserve benefits.”

1997: BERNIE SAID WE SHOULD “ADJUST” SOCIAL SECURITY BY INCREASING TAXES PAID BY THE WEALTHY, NOT BY CUTTING BENEFITS: In an oped, Bernie wrote: If we are serious about saving Social Security, not raising taxes on the middle class, and not cutting back on benefits desperately needed by many senior citizens, we must adjust this artificial ceiling on Social Security taxes and make the Social Security tax more progressive. According to the actuaries at the Social Security Administration, changing this unfair and regressive policy, depending on exactly what is done, could raise up to $70 billion next year and keep the trust fund solvent, conservatively speaking, for another 56 years — until 2053.”

Bern after reading,


BERN NOTICE: Bernie Is Taking On Trump On Social Security -- And Surging In the Polls

Bern Notice is a production of the Bernie 2020 campaign. Please forward this on to your friends and tell them to subscribe. The views expressed here are solely of the bylined author.

CNN reports that “Bernie Sanders is climbing everywhere” in the polls — and today, there are two must-read stories out about Bernie directly challenging Donald Trump on Social Security. The stories spotlight how Bernie continues to be the best positioned candidate to defeat Trump in a general election.

The first story from The Huffington Post notes that “since the moment Trump was elected, Sanders had been reminding Trump of his campaign trail promises not to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

The second story from Yahoo Finance notes that “the importance of Social Security has broken into the open in recent days,” with Bernie spotlighting his consistent and unwavering record pushing to expand the program. Remember: legislative records show that since his very first term in Congress, Bernie was leading the fight to expand Social Security benefits and block cuts to those benefits.

The stories echo McClatchy’s report back in March 2019 about Bernie being the only Democratic candidate consistently taking on Trump. That story noted at the time that “The Vermont senator has embraced taking the president on directly, frequently mentioning him by name on the trail, contrasting their mutual upbringings in a campaign video, and even having his advisers explicitly detail how he’d beat Trump in a general election. It’s made Sanders a unique figure in the crowded Democratic primary, where other candidates rarely, if ever, mention the president.”

Bernie’s focus on Social Security and Trump comes as he is surging in the general election polls against Trump:

• BERNIE LEADS TRUMP BY WIDEST MARGIN IN NEW POLL: Newsweek report that according to SurveyUSA’s new poll, “Bernie Sanders leads President Donald Trump by the widest margin of all the candidates in the Democratic Party's 2020 race.”

• BERNIE STRONGEST CANDIDATE AMONG KEY GROUPS: Morning Consult reports that in its new poll “tracking the strength of the top Democratic contenders against Trump in hypothetical matchups found Sanders performs better than his rivals (with) groups viewed as key to beating the unpopular incumbent.” That includes Bernie doing far better among independent swing voters than any other Democratic candidate.

• “BERNIE SANDERS IS SURGING EVERYWHERE”: CNN reports that “Sanders is seeing his poll numbers climb nationally and in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire…Sanders is at his highest point since his post-announcement bump. Our CNN poll has him at 27% earlier this week.” 

Bern after reading,


BERN NOTICE: Bernie Defends Social Security & Medicare While Trump Considers Cuts

Bernie has fought to protect and expand the programs -- and will do exactly that as president

The New York Times reports that during an interview at the Davos gathering of the global elite, “President Trump suggested that he would be willing to consider cuts to social safety-net programs like Medicare" and Social Security — which the newspaper notes is “an apparent shift from his 2016 campaign promise to protect funding for such entitlements.”

Bernie has fought to block cuts to Social Security and Medicare for his entire career — and he has pushed to expand those programs. In response to Trump’s comments today, Bernie reiterated his longstanding pledge to oppose cuts and expand the programs when he wins the election:

Bern after reading,


BERN NOTICE: Bernie Tops CNN's National Poll -- And 5 Poll Numbers You May Have Missed

"Sanders has gained 7 points since the last CNN poll (and) has made gains nearly across the board"

Bern Notice is a production of the Bernie 2020 campaign. Please forward this on to your friends and tell them to subscribe. The views expressed here are solely of the bylined author.

Bernie has surged to first place in CNN’s new national poll, gaining 7 points since last month.

The CNN poll shows “Bernie is now leading with men and women as well as with voters of color.

This poll follows a series of other terrific poll numbers that have come out in the last few days, showing surging support for Bernie in the final weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses. Here are five:

1. The new Vice/Ipsos poll shows 56 percent of African Americans say they would consider voting for Bernie — the highest percentage for any candidate in there race.

2. The Reuters/Ipsos national poll shows Bernie at 20 percent — putting him in first place for the first time in that survey. That’s a 6 point gain in the survey since December.

3. Chegg’s tracking poll of college students find that “Bernie continues to surge among Democratic college students, reaching his highest level of support yet” at 41 percent. That is 20 points higher than the next closest candidate.

4. Morning Consult’s poll shows Bernie surging in the early voting states. The survey shows Bernie with the highest favorability ratings of any candidate in the race.

5. An Ipsos poll from January 10th shows Bernie is seen by the largest number of voters as the candidate who is the strongest on the economy, the environment and health car.

Bern after reading,


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