Entries in Retirement (8)


Paul Ryan to Defend Medicare Plan at Fla. Retirement Community

Steve Pope/Getty Images(WARREN, Ohio) -- Paul Ryan is headed to a Florida retirement community with his mother on Saturday to make his argument about the need to change Medicare for future generations.

He’ll appear at The Villages, the world’s largest retirement community and a conservative stronghold that is a must stop for Republican candidates.

In 2008, a massive crowd of between 30,000 and 60,000 seniors came out to a rally Sarah Palin held there. Despite the Republican-leanings, it’s a clear sign the Romney campaign will continue to stay on the offense on Medicare, but with this trip they may be entering the lion’s den.

Ryan’s mother, who will accompany him, can help her son connect with the senior citizen audience. She lives part of the year in Lauderdale-By-The Sea and the other outside of Janesville, Wisconsin.

But if addressing a group of Florida seniors on Medicare reform is a challenge for Ryan, even as his drastic changes to the program would alter no benefits for those currently over 55, then Ryan is making his pitch to one of the friendliest lion’s dens possible: The Villages is a hotbed of pro-Romney money.

The retirement location itself made a hefty corporate donation to the main super PAC supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. The Villages of Lake Sumter, Inc., the Florida retirement community that includes property development, golf and other recreational activities, donated $250,000 to Restore Our Future last June. Five individual residents donated a total of over $678,000 to the group, which also received money from utility, communications, commercial property, and investment companies located in The Villages, Fla.

Ryan and Romney continue to hone their Medicare argument. Ryan was asked directly about his criticism of cuts to future Medicare spending in the president’s health care plan Thursday and how that squares with his own signature budget plan, which includes those same exact cuts.

He said because those cuts are already signed into law they are part of the baseline and if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, like the GOP ticket is proposing, that money would come back to Medicare.

“First of all, those are in the baseline, he put those cuts in,” said Ryan at the Original Hot Dog Shoppe, suggesting that he is simply working with the budget situation handed to him by the president and Democrats. “Second of all, we voted to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, including those cuts. I voted that way before the budget, I voted that way after the budget. So when you repeal all of Obamacare what you end up doing is that repeals that as well. In our budget we’ve restored a lot of that…We would never have done it in the first place. We voted to repeal the whole bill. I just don’t think the president’s going to be able to get out of the fact that he took $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.”

At a Catholic college Thursday morning Ryan repeated that the Medicare debate is one “we need to have” and one “we are going to win,” before laying into Obama over these same cuts.

“What he probably did not mention yesterday is that when he passed his signature health care achievement Obamacare he raided 716 billion dollars from Medicare to pay for Obamacare,” Ryan said at Walsh University. “This will lead to fewer services for seniors. President Obama’s campaign calls this an achievement. You think raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare? Neither do I.”

He added that the Romney ticket will “protect and strengthen Medicare, leave it in tact for our current seniors and save it for the next generation.”

Ryan’s plan would replace Medicare with a voucher program. In his plan Medicare would cease to pay for health services directly, instead operating as a board that approves a menu of health plans for public sale and doles out predetermined lumps of money to people enrolled in Medicare, to help them buy those plans. This could cost seniors thousands of dollars more each year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Ryan endorsed the same exact cuts in his plan, the same plan Romney has said he would sign if he became president. The cuts do not affect benefits for seniors or the elderly. Instead, they reduce provider reimbursements and curb waste, fraud and abuse. In an interview with ABC News Green Bay, Wisconsin affiliate, WBAY, Wednesday Romney said his “plan for Medicare is the same, if not identical, it’s probably close to identical” to Ryan’s signature plan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jon Huntsman 'Sexy' Despite Views on Entitlements

Jeff Kardas/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- He couldn’t get the votes for the Republican nomination, but Jon Huntsman has gained an accolade of a different kind.

His rock band past and his salt and pepper hair have earned former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman a spot on American Association of Retired Persons Magazine’s 21 sexiest men of 2012.  The former Utah governor shares the distinction with actor George Clooney and musician Yo-Yo Ma as part of the magazine’s “Men on Fire 2012″ series.  Huntsman was the only politician to make the list.

“Your inner strength is as important as your outer strength,” said Huntsman in his interview with AARP.

AARP is a group that defends the interests of 38 million retired Americans.  In the past they have fought for preserving both Medicare and Social Security.  Huntsman, described as a reluctant moderate in a profile posted to the AARP website, said that he would vote for the controversial Paul Ryan Budget, but is also quoted saying that the fervency of the debate is scaring older Americans.

“All I know is that we’re frightening the American people who just want solutions,” said Huntsman in a 2011 Tea Party debate.

Conservatives like Ryan have argued that changes need to be made in order to preserve Medicare and Social Security in the long run.

AARP made headlines last year when their policy chief suggested that Social Security should be part of the larger deficit reduction conversation.

Huntsman is married to Mary Kaye Huntsman and has seven children.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Congressman David Dreier Announces Retirement

Dreier [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Rep. David Dreier, who represents California’s 26th district in Congress, announced Wednesday morning his plans to retire.

Dreier, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Rules, explained in a statement that his decision to retire stemmed from his accomplishing a series of objectives that he’d outlined for himself three years ago: cut non-defense discretionary spending, pass free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, enhance national security and ensure that both parties have the opportunity to propose amendments on the House floor.

“My decision has been a deliberative one,” he said.  “Three years ago I contemplated leaving at the end of the previous Congress, but I ultimately chose to seek reelection for the sake of pursuing four key objectives.  Speaker, I have been honored to play a part in the effort to accomplish these four goals.”

Dreier was facing a challenge as a result of redistricting in his state -- the new congressional map in California left him without a district.

The announcement makes Dreier the fourth Republican congressman in California to announce plans to retire at the end of the 112th Congress.  Three longtime congressmen from the nation’s largest congressional delegation announced in January their retirement plans within the span of one week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe to Retire

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, a three-term veteran from Maine, will not stand for re-election this fall. Snowe, one of the handful of moderates left in the Senate, said she is tired of the gridlock that has paralyzed Congress.

Snowe, 65, was one of just three Republicans to support President Obama’s stimulus package in 2009. Although she voted against the final health care bill in 2010, she was the only Republican Senator to vote for any version of the bill (she supported it in committee).

Her retirement is a big blow to Republican hopes of taking control of the Senate. With her seat almost certain to be picked up by a Democrat, Republicans would need to pick up a total of four seats (three if a Republican wins the White House) -- and not lose any of their own vulnerable seats like Scott Brown’s seat in Massachusetts -- in order to take control of the Senate.

In a paper statement announcing her retirement, Snowe said she does not “realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change.”

Snowe’s office said she will hold a news conference in Portland, Maine, in order to further discuss her decision when she returns to her home state on Friday.

Snowe’s full statement:

“After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate.

After 33 years in the Congress this was not an easy decision.  My husband and I are in good health.  We have laid an exceptionally strong foundation for the campaign, and I have no doubt I would have won re-election.  It has been an indescribable honor and immeasurable privilege to serve the people of Maine, first in both houses of Maine’s legislature and later in both houses of Congress.  To this day, I remain deeply passionate about public service, and I cherish the opportunity I have been given for nearly four decades to help improve the lives of my fellow Mainers.

As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives.  I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.

With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be.  Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.

As I enter a new chapter, I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate. I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the  promise that is unique to America.

In the meantime, as I complete my third term, I look forward to continuing to fight for the people of Maine and the future of our nation.  And I will be forever and unyieldingly grateful for the trust that the people of Maine have placed in me, and for the phenomenal friendship and assistance I have received over the years from my colleagues, my supporters, and my staff, both in Maine and in Washington.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson Announces Retirement

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- The senior senator from Nebraska has decided not to run for re-election next year. Retiring at the end of his second term, Nebraska's Ben Nelson becomes the seventh Senate Democrat to announce his retirement this session.

In 2012, Democrats will find themselves defending 23 senate seats - far more than Republicans, who have 10 members up for re-election next year.  If four seats change hands into the GOP column, so too would control of the Senate.

In a statement Tuesday, President Obama thanked Nelson for "his years of service representing the people of Nebraska, first as Governor and then for more than a decade in the United States Senate."

"Over the course of his career, Ben’s commitment to working with both Democrats and Republicans across a broad range of issues is a trait far too often overlooked in today’s politics.  Michelle and I commend Ben for his service, and wish him and his family well in the future," the president said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry ‘Retires’ Early To Collect Pension Benefits

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rick Perry’s personal financial disclosure released Friday shows the Texas governor essentially “retired” in January to begin the early collection of pension benefits, drastically increasing his take home pay as governor.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure revealed Perry’s gross annual income as governor of Texas of $150,000 was supplemented in the last year by a $7,698 annuity each month, totaling $92,376 a year. This raises the Texas governor’s total annual income to more than $240,000.

The story was first reported by the Texas Tribune.

Ray Sullivan, communications director for Perry, told ABC News the governor started receiving the Texas state employee retirement annuity on Jan. 31, 2011, and said “the annuity is consistent with Texas state law and Employee Retirement System rules.”

Per Sullivan, Perry, 61, qualified for the annuity based on the state’s rule of 80, which combined Perry’s service in the U.S. military, state service and age.

Sullivan noted “Perry continues to pay into the Employees Retirement System with a 6.5 percent withholding from his state salary.”

Perry has admonished the distribution of special perks to members of Congress and also called for reforms to the Social Security system.

The FEC disclosure also revealed Perry’s wife, Anita, received an $65,000 annual consulting fee from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Barney Frank Will Not Seek Re-election to Congress

ABC News(NEWTON, Mass.) -- Rep. Barney Frank, the first serving member of Congress to come out as gay and a powerful Democrat whose name is attached to the sweeping Wall Street reform bill, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2012.

“I am required to choose. I have to choose between fulfilling my obligation as a ranking member of the Financial Services Committee on behalf of financial reform and my responsibility to continue to be a full representative of the people who voted for me in 2010,” Frank said in a statement to reporters in Newton, Mass. Monday afternoon.  “I do not choose to run for Congress in 2012.”

Frank said he believes that if he had decided to run he would have won in 2012, but the challenges created by redistricting proved not to be worth an attempt to extend his tenure for two more years.

“I don’t want to be torn between a full-fledged campaign in a district with 325,000 new people, and my obligation to the existing constituents,” Frank said. “I would be asking 325,000 new constituents to give me the mandate to be their advocate with the federal government for only two years. Starting on a series of projects only to be passing them along in various stages of incompletion to a successor two years later is not a responsible way to act.”

Frank became the first member of Congress to come out as gay six years after he first took office, coming out in 1987 and breaking an important barrier in American politics.

Asked what sort of legacy he hoped to leave behind in Congress, Frank said that “people should leave their legacies to other people to describe,” but admitted that his coming out will likely highlight his career.

Frank survived scandal to become one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill during more than 30 years in office. The Massachusetts congressman chaired the House Financial Services Committee when Democrats were in the majority from early 2007 until early 2011, becoming the main House Democrat overseeing the financial industry during one of the most turbulent economic eras of U.S. history.

Frank was instrumental in ushering the Wall Street bailout through Congress in 2008. And he, along with former Sen. Chris Dodd, have their names attached to a sweeping Wall Street reform bill passed through Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010.

Dodd resigned in 2010 rather than face a tough reelection fight.

The Wall Street reform bill – known as “Dodd-Frank” – placed tough new rules on the financial sector as a way to avoid future mortgage crises. It also enacted a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect Americans from large corporations. The law has been pilloried by Republicans as Washington overreach.

He has not been without controversy. Frank admitted to paying a male prostitute who was living in his Capitol Hill apartment in the 1980s and servicing other clients there.

Frank survived attempts to expel him from the House and stayed on to become one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington.

Democrats do not expect to have a problem winning the district in Frank’s absence. Barack Obama and Sen. John Kerry both garnered more than 60 percent of the vote there in 2008.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lieberman, Conrad Retiring. Who's Next?

Photo Courtesy - Lieberman dot Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senator Joe Lieberman called Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday to tell him he is not running for re-election in 2012. That's actually good news for Democrats. Although the independent Lieberman is a member of the Democratic caucus, his decision to retire makes it easier for Democrats to hang on to his Connecticut Senate seat.

If Lieberman had run, he would have almost certainly run as an independent. That would have meant a three-way race, giving Republicans their best -- and perhaps only -- shot at winning the seat in a state President Obama won in a 22-point landslide in 2008. Now Connecticut Democrats will have a chance to unite behind a single candidate.

The day's other retirement, however, is terrible news for Democrats. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D., would have faced a tough re-election campaign, but he would have been, by far, the best chance for Democrats to hang on to the seat. North Dakota is a solidly Republican state that went for John McCain in 2008 and last year elected Republican John Hoeven to the Senate with 76 percent of the vote.

A Lieberman aide says that the Senator will formally announce his decision on Wednesday by quoting the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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