When it comes to protecting Social Security, the so-called “third rail” of American politics, Congressman Lee Terry (NE-R) wants voters to take him at his word.
On Saturday, in the middle of a tough re-election campaign against Democrat Tom White, Terry went so far as to sign a pledge which states he will “oppose any effort to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part.”
Terry isn’t new to pledges and has broken at least one since taking office in Washington.
In 1998, when he was in another tough race (the Republican primary for Congress), Terry signed the US Term Limits pledge, promising to serve no more than three terms (six years) in the House of Representatives.
When Terry decided to switch positions he told this reporter he had signed the pledge, “because term limits is an important issue and that was the way I wanted to signify my dedication to the issue.”
Following that comment the World-Herald wrote in an editorial, “So the pledge wasn’t a promise: it was-a press release?”
Asked by Nebraska Watchdog why voters should believe Terry will keep his pledge on Social Security when he didn’t keep his pledge on term limits, Terry’s campaign issued an 81 word statement (see full transcript below) that never mentions term limits or Terry’s decision to break that pledge.
Instead Terry’s campaign manager David Boomer tells Nebraska Watchdog that Terry is fighting the fall-out from the Obama administration’s federal healthcare legislation. Boomer says Terry is focused on “strengthening Medicare and fighting $500 billion in cuts…which (White) has supported.”
White’s campaign manager says the healthcare bill cuts spending on prescription drug benefits and adds White “wasn’t in Congress to help shape” the bill but is willing to help “fix any problems.”
White has also signed the pledge to protect Social Security.
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Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement from Terry’s campaign:
“Lee’s focus has been on strengthening Medicare and fighting the $500 billion in cuts to the program that are contained in the federal healthcare legislation passed earlier this year. Those cuts–which Lee’s opponent has supported–could bring chaos to the program and cause long delays in seniors seeing a doctor. Moreover, $113 billion of the cuts are occurring to Medicare Advantage programs–some companies are passing the reductions through by cutting such benefits like free eye exams or gym memberships.”