Retired Local 1107 Officer Appears in Ad Opposing Social Security Cuts

April 3, 2024

A new ad urging Congressman Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) to stop supporting efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare features retired UE Local 1107 officer Joni Anderson.

“I spent almost 30 years on my feet working hard at the factory,” Anderson says in the video. “I paid into Social Security with every paycheck.”

“Derrick Van Orden’s plan would slash Medicare and Social Security,” she continues in a voice-over, “but Van Orden voted for huge tax breaks for corporations.”

Anderson is referring to House Joint Resolution 21, submitted by Van Orden, which recycles a bit of political sleight-of-hand from the 1990s: proposing a “balanced budget” amendment to the Constitution.

As the UE NEWS explained in March 1995, “Instead of a frontal assault on this popular program [Social Security], the Republicans have launched two indirect attacks. One is the balanced budget amendment. If enacted, the (now temporarily stalled) amendment would force cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Even conservative economists admit the numbers won’t come out right unless Social Security is axed.”

Much more dangerous than Van Orden’s bill — which would take years to implement, is H.R. 5779, a bill to create a secret commission that could fast-track cuts to Social Security and Medicare through Congress. Ominously, H.R. 5779 passed out of committee in January by a 22-11 vote, with three Democrats joining 19 Republicans in supporting it.

The bill would create a bipartisan commission that would meet behind closed doors and then propose legislation. Similar to the “fast-track” provisions which brought us free-trade agreements like NAFTA, legislation proposed by the commission would bypass the committee structure and go directly to the floor. Debate would be limited to two hours, and members of Congress would have no ability to amend the legislation — instead only being able to vote it up or down.

In a letter to members of Congress, AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director William Samuel wrote that H.R. 5779 “would set the stage for the kind of fiscal brinksmanship that demands cuts to workers’ Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits as the price of preventing government shutdowns.”

The bill is also opposed by Social Security Works, an organization that works to preserve the benefit program for seniors, and the AARP.

More in line with UE policy, which calls for protecting and expanding Social Security, is H.R. 4583, which would increase benefits and ensure that the program is adequately funded by requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share into the program. H.R. 4583 has 183 co-sponsors, including close UE allies Summer Lee (D-PA) and Chuy Garcia (D-IL).

The ad is sponsored by Opportunity Wisconsin, a coalition of Wisconsin residents fighting for an economy that works for working people.