Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jim Webb Leads Again

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-NE., to create a commission to fashion a solution for the soon-to-come shortfall of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Unlike President Decider who tried to privatize Social Security, Webb and Hagel want a bipartisan group to study the entitlement issue and provide solutions instead of soundbites and give-aways to the uber rich security institutions.

“For decades, hard-working Americans have counted on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as a safety net to protect their basic needs,” said Senator Webb. “The intentions of these programs are unquestionable. They foster a level of fairness and government responsibility that Americans deserve. But with nearly 80 million baby boomers retiring in the next few years and the costs of medical care continually rising, we need to take the responsible steps to ensure the solvency of these programs in the years ahead.

“For too long, Congressional debate on these programs has been mired in partisan politics. As the latest trustees’ report makes all too clear, we need leadership to ensure the long-term financial health of these programs. That’s why it is time for a neutral commission to recommend solutions to Congress within one year of the bill’s passage,” continued Webb.

“Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have played a vital role for millions of Americans to cope with the financial burdens of retirement and health care costs. However, over the next 75 years these three programs represent a $47 trillion unfunded commitment and are on a trajectory that cannot be sustained. The Commission will review America’s three major entitlement programs and make comprehensive recommendations to sustain the solvency and stability of these programs for future generations. Confronting the financial challenges that exist with these entitlement programs now means facing less dramatic and difficult choices down the road,” Senator Hagel said.
In the House, Reps. John Tanner, D-Tn., and Mike Castle, R-De., have introduced similar legislation. The panel would reach a consensus and make recommendations to Congress on ways to fix the system.

In other words, cooperation across party lines. Something very rare in Washington.

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