Aug 15, 2012
Steve Southerland – Out of Touch with Florida Families, Farmers and Seniors
Since coming to Washington, Congressman Steve Southerland has proven that he is out of touch and wrong for North Florida families, farmers and seniors. While complaining about his $174,000 salary, Congressman Southerland has voted twice for Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget that drastically cuts Medicare for seniors in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires and companies shipping American jobs overseas.
Congressman Southerland is Wrong for Seniors. Congressman Steve Southerland voted to end Medicare and raise health care costs by $6,400 for Florida seniors while giving people earning at least $1 million a year a $265,000 tax cut. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Congressman Southerland voted to "end the help seniors receive toward closing the prescription drug doughnut hole" and transform the Medicare "safety net into a premium-support voucher program" while "lavish[ing] tax cuts on the rich." Congressman Southerland also supports a radical plan to privatize Social Security and gamble seniors’ retirement on the stock market.
Southerland Voted for Budgets With the Wrong Priorities for Seniors. House Republicans voted for two budgets authored by Congressman Paul Ryan. Together, these budgets that would end Medicare’s guaranteed benefit while providing people earning more than $1 million a year with an average tax cut of $265,000. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it will increase health care costs by an extra $6,359 by 2022 for future Medicare beneficiaries, while the Center for American progress has claimed that it is likely that that a middle-class family with two kids making about $70,000 a year would pay about $1,150 more in income tax. [H Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132; Citizens for Tax Justice, 3/22/12; CBO, 4/5/11; CNN, 3/23/12]
Southerland Supported Privatizing Social Security. “I think we’re going to have to address some kind of privatization, in some way. Not perhaps all of Social Security...maybe those that are just starting out. Maybe those employees that are 30 and under. That there’s some type of privatization.” [Southerland Campaign Mayo Event, 5/08/10]
Congressman Southerland is Wrong for North Florida Middle Class Families. In these tough economic times, Southerland’s tax plan would create a 23% spending tax on all American families – from gas to groceries, rent to medicine to doctor’s visits.
Southerland Called Fair Tax the “Best Option” for Tax Reform. “The Fair Tax, is in my opinion, probably the best option out there right now as an option to address the unfairness of our current tax code [...] I like the Fair Tax. I think that all the bills out there, all the thoughts out there, that’s the best one.” [Southerland Campaign Mayo Event, 5/08/10]
Southerland Pledged to Protect $92.5 Billion in Subsidies That Encourage Companies to Outsource Jobs. The Americans for Tax Reform pledge has become a litmus test for Republican congressional candidates and Members of Congress. The Americans for Tax Reform falsely claims that cutting tax expenditures constitute a tax increase. In reality, it is widely recognized that cutting tax expenditures is just another way to cut spending. Southerland, who signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, has promised to protect $92.5 billion in subsidies that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas. [CBS News, 11/20/11; Americans for Tax Reform Pledge Signers, accessed 7/17/11; Americans for Tax Reform, 4/11/11; Center for American Progress, 3/11]
Congressman Southerland is Out of Touch. While complaining about his $174,000 taxpayer salary, Congressman Steve Southerland has voted to slash Medicare and cut important agriculture funding. North Florida farmers continue to face uncertainty without a long term farm bill because House Republicans including Congressman Southerland left for a five-week vacation on the taxpayers’ dime.
Southerland Said $174,000 Salary “Not So Much.” “U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland told retirees Wednesday that serving in Congress is a great honor and privilege, but not cushy job with lavish insurance and pension benefits that many disgruntled taxpayers seem to think it is. He said his $174,000 salary is not so much […] He added that ‘if you took the hours that I work and divided it into my pay,’ the $174,000 salary would not seem so high.” [Florida Capital News, 8/25/11]
Southerland Voted for Budget with $33 billion in Agriculture Cuts. In 2012, Southerland voted for the House Republican budget. “Under Ryan’s budget, various farm programs including subsidies, crop insurance and conservation would face $33 billion dollars worth of budget cuts over the next decade. Food stamps and nutrition programs would face even larger reductions- $133 billion over a decade.” [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; MPR, 4/09/12]
Star Tribune: House Republicans stonewall farm bill. “Month after month, House Republicans promised to save taxpayers millions by cutting wasteful subsidies paid to farmers -- whether or not they needed the money or even planted a crop. Instead of living up to their word, they’re taking a five-week recess without considering the farm bill adopted by the House Agriculture Committee in mid-July. […] House Republicans haven’t made the bill a priority. […] They’re also unwilling to compromise with Democrats to bring about the long-term policy reforms that a new farm bill needs. […] The fault for the farm bill mess to date lies squarely on the shoulders of House Republicans, who are so badly divided that they’ve stonewalled legislation America needs. We’ve seen this dysfunction in the House before -- with the payroll tax credit extension, as well as with last year’s budget battle.” [Star Tribune, Editorial, 8/7/12]