Press Release

National Nurses United Supports Sanders Legislation to Protect Social Security

For Immediate Release
March 14, 2011

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation requiring a supermajority in the Senate to pass any legislation that would cut or privatize Social Security benefits.  This bill, The Social Security Protection Act, parallels other legislation pending the Senate that would supermajorities to raise spending caps or taxes.

“Nurses all over the country are worried about cuts to Social Security that could come out of the current discussion on deficit,” said Deborah Burger, RN, co-President of National Nurses United (NNU).  “The reality is that Social Security hasn’t contributed a dime to the deficit, but its benefits are now more important than ever with traditional pensions disappearing.”

NNU has been outspoken in its work to preserve Social Security both because of its importance to nurses and to their patients.  Nursing is one of the most dangerous professions in America due to manually lifting patients, endemic understaffing at hospitals, and the threat of physical violence.  Raising the retirement age would be especially damaging to nurses and other health care workers.

“What we need right now is economic stimulus, not austerity.  Programs like Social Security were created to get us out of the Great Depression, we cannot cut benefits now.” Burger added.  “Workers who have paid into Social Security all their lives should get as least as much protection for their benefits as rich people are getting for their tax breaks.”

Senator Sanders has indicated he hopes to be able to offer this legislation as an amendment as early as this week in the Senate.  “We strongly encourage the Senate to take this up and vote for working families by supporting this bill,” Burger said.  “With average benefits only amounting to about $14,000 a year, people who rely on this benefit to make ends meet can’t afford to make do with less.”