Contrary to a misleading fact-check on her Medicare and Social Security record recently posted by her campaign, Sen. Susan Collins has repeatedly voted for Republican legislation that would have slashed funding for Medicare benefits and against multiple proposals to protect or expand Social Security funding.
According to a review by American Ledger, between 1997 and 2017 Collins voted at least eight separate times for GOP budgets that attempted to slash funding for Medicare.
Collins’ long history of siding with the GOP sharply contrasts with the fact-check posted to her campaign website, which cherry-picked a single vote Collins took in favor of Medicare in 2017, and attempted to use a positive quote from AARP on that legislation to deflect from ongoing criticism of her record on Social Security and Medicare.
In fact, AARP criticized nearly all of the legislation Collins voted for that would have made steep cuts to Medicare, which millions of senior Americans rely on for healthcare each year.
In 2011, Collins voted for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan that would have necessitated deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called this legislation “one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of major budget legislation to come before Congress in years.” And AARP took aim at the legislation, stating that Social Security and Medicare would be “at risk for arbitrary reductions under the constitutional amendment, and as such, AARP is opposed.”
In 2018 over 330,000 — nearly a quarter of Maine’s population — senior Mainers were enrolled in Medicare. Maine has the second highest percentage of residents aged 65+ in the nation.
Collins’ record on protecting or expanding Social Security isn’t better.
In 2000, Collins voted to divert surplus Social Security trust fund money to reduce the federal debt; in 2001 Collins voted against legislation to establish a lockbox around Social Security to prevent funding from being slashed in budget negotiations; in 2015 Collins voted against legislation to expand Social Security benefits; and as late as 2017, Collins voted against allocating $1.36 billion to fund the Social Security Administration to cut down on backlogs and improve service.
More than 335,000 Mainers were Social Security beneficiaries in 2017 who received more than $400 million in monthly benefits.
Collins’ long history of attempting to quietly cut Medicare and Social Security benefits for Mainers is increasingly coming to light as she seeks reelection for her Senate seat in 2020.