Dennis Rehberg On Social Security

Rehberg Said Private Accounts Should Be Considered. While he refused to outright endorse Bush’s idea of personal Social Security investment accounts, he suggested that he was open to considering the president’s plan. “I want to see all the proposals, he said. “But why not consider such personal accounts that would earn a higher return for young adults that they would own and could pass on to their kids?” [Great Falls Tribune, 2/4/05]

Rehberg Voted to Allow Social Security Dollars to Be Diverted to Create Private Accounts. In 2005, Rehberg voted against a Democratic proposal to add a provision to the budget resolution stipulating that money from the Social Security Trust Fund could not be diverted to create private investment accounts. [Vote #78, 3/16/2005]

Rehberg Supported Republicans’ Attempt To Use Social Security Surplus To Establish Private Accounts. Rehberg voted in favor of a budget resolution that called for using about $600 billion of the Social Security surplus to fund new privatized retirement accounts for stock market investment. [Vote #70, 3/28/2001]

Rehberg Supported Bush Privatization Plan, “Massive Cuts in Defined Benefits.” In 2001, Rehberg voted against an amendment that would have stopped the White House from implementing the Social Security privatization plan being developed by President Bush’s Social Security Commission. A vote in favor of the amendment was to deny fiscal 2002 funding to advance the commission report. The Bush Commission was stacked to include only proponents of privatization—and ultimately recommended three possible plans, all of which included some privatization of Social Security. Privatizing Social Security would require an increase in Social Security taxes or a return to the days of deficit spending, or a reduction in guaranteed benefits to pay for transition cost in the trillions. Max Richtman, executive vice president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said of the Commission’s proposals, “Each of the proposals put forward by the commission require specific, massive cuts in defined benefits—even for those who do not opt for the voluntary accounts.” The amendment was defeated 188-238 [Vote #273, 7/25/2001; USA Today, 5/15/01; Dallas Morning News, 5/7/01; National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare press release, 12/11/01]

Rehberg Agreed with Bush’s Proposal to Allow People to Invest up to 2 Percent of Their Social Security Privately. According the Great Falls Tribune, “Rehberg said the Social Security system needs to be preserved and protected to honor the commitment to retirees and older workers, but Congress should give younger workers the option of investing part of their retirement funds privately, as federal employees now do. Rehberg said he agrees with GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush’s proposal to start by letting people invest up to 2 percent privately. Young people, who aren’t sure Social Security will be there for them, could earn a greater return that way, Rehberg said.” [Great Falls Tribune, 7/28/00]

Rehberg Supported Privatization of Social Security. In 2000, Rehberg explained the Republican plan, in which younger workers could invest a small portion of their Social Security contributions in a private fund. There used to be 401 workers making contributions to Social Security for every recipient. Now the ratio is 31-to-1 and falling, so the country needs to find a way to make the system stable with better returns for younger generations, he said. The president, Congress and other federal workers already have a thrift plan, in which they choose investment options for their retirement money. “If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for the rest of us,” he said. [Great Falls Tribune, 10/18/00]

Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA)

Rehberg Voted Against Supporting Struggling Seniors. On December 08, 2010, Rehberg voted against suspending House rules and pass the Seniors Protection Act (H.R.5987). The legislation would provide a one-time payment of $250 to recipients of Social Security, railroad retirement benefits and veterans’ disability compensation or pension benefits if there is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) payable in 2011. COLAs are determined by a formula that increases payments when the costs of everyday expenses rise. However, inflation has not been high enough to trigger such adjustments due to economic deflation. [Roll Call 611, H 5987, 12/08/2010; Congressional Quarterly Today, 12/8/10]