Midday; Metropolitan Senior Federation rally
This record is featured in “Speaking and Protesting in America.”
This evening on forum we have excerpts from a meeting of the Metropolitan senior Federation the Federation met May 18 to voice their grievances on some of the side effects of an increase in Social Security benefits. Approximately a thousand senior citizens attended the meeting held at Seoul's harbor in downtown Minneapolis. Six members of Congress who were at the meeting to hear the grievances they were the two Minnesota senators Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale and Congressman Don Fraser. Joe Carter Bill Frenzel and Bob Berglund also at the meeting were Minneapolis Mayor Al Hoff's did and Minnesota attorney general Warren Spanish. The meeting was called to order by moderator cliff Carlson.
The meeting is called to order.
With greetings to all of you from the Metropolitan senior Federation today. Seniors are here to show and express their discontent. Many inequities arise when social security increases are put in effect. It is in this area we will come find a discussion. Our panel of senators and congressman are here to listen.
And they will respond.
Next on our program will be ed Stephens our Executive Vice President of the Metropolitan Federation. He will lead us in song on. The piano accompaniment as Tony SCHAPER And a trumpeter is Herb Robbins.
The pension rules don't leave us and the choice to just know may rejoice.
Were here were business we're not.
It's time to go and vote for our goat. We mean business we're not good.
Thank you Ed Stevens. Thank you all for joining us. Now we have a health problem or he is an area vice president of the Federation. He's a former Labor leader.
In St. Paul.
Thank you oh my god you have been and is doing these senators congressmen and members of the House and Senate and senior citizens. We welcome you all. Let me just point out one thing that I have learned through long experience that the only way you get something done when you've got somebody supporting you and our cars must be a good one by the audience that I see in front of me which indicates that you are behind us the senior set of citizens Federation its officers and for that reason we're very grateful that you came out and spent a day with us to see that we implement properly and get directly to the congressmen and senators are here. Our message which I'm going to explain to you in just a few minutes. We are going to talk a little bit about the Social Security system or the insecurity of the Social Security system. First of all though we must express our thanks to those of you who are talking now to the senators and the legislators. Who have helped us in the past.
We know that it was not easy and we had it. Had it not been for information conditions might have been not have worsened to a point where we now need to come to you our friends for help. I'm talking now to the legislators. They're remembering we are on fixed incomes. Our research tells us that many people on Social Security have consistently been receiving less than the poverty level. Our seniors do not want to be on welfare and want to pay their own way which means that they simply eat less. When the 11 percent Social Security system increases finally goes into effect it will mean eighty eight thousand seniors in Minnesota will receive no income increase at all. Why this has been researched so it's not my idle words because an estimated 10000 seniors will have reduced food stamps 10000 seniors will have reduced public housing. Twenty one thousand nine hundred twenty World War vet pensioners who will be getting the last thirty one thousand seniors will be receiving less under SSI benefits or roughly 22 percent of all Minnesota senior citizens.
We feel we have come to you to get relief knowing that if this problem exists in Minnesota it must be national in scope and is causing untold suffering to thousands and thousands of seniors who have no place to turn but you who have been most sympathetic in the past. We believe that fast action is necessary. Remembering that time for us is running out. We think we help build and make this country whether it's an adopted country or just some of us are not. We think we've made it a great country we helped build it. We believe we paid benefits and we paid for the benefits under Social Security. We can document our claims and now I shall call on one of the claimants and I will ask Mary Atherton who we will tell you what has happened to her.
She will talk about World War 1 pensions and about all senators and representatives and our friends. In the RDM we welcome you. I'm going to talk to you today about the injustice of of Social Security and how that affects the thirteen thousand two hundred and fifty nine veterans of World War II and their widows that are collecting a pension in Minnesota that the world thought. That war was fought over five years ago and I am one of the widows of World War 1. But out of sight and out of mind. When those who cared he was raised and the bettering our weather lost approximately the same amount out of their pension out of my widow's pension. Starting February 1974 and every month there after I asked. Twelve dollars and fifteen samples that Hoover bract nourishing food for me. I know many veterans of World War 1 and widows that have lost their entire pension and I have been national legislative chairman at the weather of the world war won and I can tell you my phone has been hot. Members of Congress we're asking you to support representative fries. They 0 8 sure are 1 3 5 7 9. This will give you the better number Robbo are why I'm am their widows. I had decent pension no strings attached as you have both at the chief justice's widows of the United States are raising their pension from five to tamp out some dollars but we wear those out while art Bora-Bora won. I have my mechanic to our maximum at 20. The $600. Senator McGovern has introduced a similar bill in the Senate and 3 3 8 3 The better than. Our foreign war won. The American Legion and the National Association of Concerned Veterans have endorsed both bills. Congressman we are asking and pleading with you to support both bills now.
Thank you very much merry way to take care of the male side of the program. I'm going to call on Virgil Brazil we will talk to us about World War 2 veterans. And he comes from the snowing Avenue high rise Virgil.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I know both senators and representatives and friends and veterans of World War 1 and World War 2 0. Ever since 1964 social security increases have affected the pensions of World War 1 and World War 2 veterans. It became mandatory at that time for all veterans on pension and also receiving Social Security to report such social security increases to the Veterans Administration as income. As a result veterans pensions were reduced in accordance with the Grays in Social Security and seven consecutive years. The veterans have lost some or all of their pensions because of social security increases in the state of Minnesota. There are over 9000 veterans of World War Two alone who have become affected as a veteran of World War 2 and receiving pension as well as Social Security. I am presently losing 33 dollars per month or three hundred ninety six dollars per year. This has all come about because Social Security had been classified as income and has to be reported to the Veterans Administration as such. It is anticipated that by the year of 1975 three out of four veterans will lose all their pensions. Under the present system of reporting Social Security as income. If Congress had increased the income limitations by $400 in 1973 this would have restored pensions cut by the 20 percent hike and Social Security in the year of 1972. Congress has said that the 11 percent increase in Social Security in 1974 would not be common for veterans pension purposes until 1975. This is no big thing for the veterans on Social Security. We'll have to report the 11 percent increase on or before January the 15th are 1975. And every veteran will again take a reduction in his pension. What is needed right now is a change or adjustment of rates and income. Income limitations for the veterans pension to keep pace with the cost of living right. Advanced pension was once purely payment for war service. It has been chipped away at since the 1960s and if the chipping continues there won't be any pension for any veteran. Why not give the veterans a justifiable pension and not include Social Security as income. Social Security should not be a determining factor as to the amount of pension a veteran should or should not receive. The law defines a veteran's pension as a monthly payment by the Veterans Administration because of service age or disability. Why should Social Security which we all work for and paid for be tied in with the veteran's pension. We the veterans on pension and also on Social Security payments need action by Congress. Anyway I hope we get it now. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you very much for Joan and now I'm going to ask a real senior citizen to come up and say a few words.
This lady I haven't asked her but she tells us she's told somebody that she's 94 years old and I'm going to ask Bertha Anderson to come up here and tell us a little bit about Social Security. Last of I was on SSI the loss of benefits right there Anderson.
I give you the ministries of United States. And I'm telling you and to the congregation.
I am 94 years or will perish. And I'd only get a hundred forty dollars a month. I've got insurance to pay I've got to live in a coach and I don't have much to have for nobody. I want to pay I pay for that board and shortstop that Cuba. I've got my Tele home to pay about my rent to pay my rent is $34. And that just about all the years to it. But I'm telling you one thing I don't know how I'm going to make it. But through the help of God they get some kind of a way to protect me.
I want to dose now. Glance back in time. She hardly needs any introduction. She is executive vice president of the Federation. She is a Minnesota version of Maggie and the famed Carrie Nelson. Carrie Nation rather. Now So Do you know Minnesota I can't help but at any rate here's my mackintosh.
And my good friends up there that are the real people the wonderful people that have built this country and I'm going to be a little different than the other speakers on them. I am very I'm happy. After many years to see the wonderful people that I know that have built this wonderful Federation and yet today they tell me I cried all night. I was terribly upset about this. I hear calls all day long. So there are many things that could have been done that weren't done. Let's never say the other fellow is responsible because when we had a Democratic Congress a Democratic president he promised it would be the first and it was the last. And believe me they heard from me. Now we're going to talk a minute I was forced to say things that's why they kind of confined me and they kind of worry a little bit about me. And now I'm supposed to out the Bill of action not food stamps out ability should automatically be raised proportionately to any social security encrease. Well I'll tell you what's food stamps are a farce. That's what they are. Our senior citizen can't get them $2 to $3 over on something they just. Even the girls in the office tell me they're broken hearted when they have to turn down a senior that needs the stamps that can't have them. That's what's happened. And I took down from here many times I could write a better bill than they do. For it. And. That's them on public housing I should know about it I was with Floyd also in the day he turned the first shovel. I never missed a meeting on public housing. We have a dream today that dream is a nightmare. They have worried the people in high rises to such an extent that they break down their health and everything else. Then I'm not going to speak on my pension because we've had two experts Mary Atherton in the good and the spoke on that and I think what a shame what a shame that we in Minnesota that great forward looking state has let our veterans down. Now then the Social Security tax needs to be progressive rather than regressive. You know I have 25 grandchildren. They look at me and they said you know 40 percent of our wages are taken out to take care you. And I.
And I always say to them yes but how do I come in come and live at your house. At. The end.
A URL search or associate of what I mean is they have this is all of them deliberately pushing us back back that oh they've had their day let them get back in there and when they show a picture of us they show us off without any teeth and are here.
To our earth so everybody feels so far.
Now that prayer that I hear among my friends is Dear Lord let me not become a burden to my children let me almost have dignity let me live in it with some dignity the rest of my life. But that just hasn't happened to us. We've all been pushed on really. I'm still fighting the battle but many people have that I generation don't want to be really people they wanted to carry their own and they have through the years they've paid their bills and they have enriched the country. I can still remember my own mother how happy she was when she paid a little bit off on her house and so I have seen all these happen. I have seen before Senator Humphrey was here Senator Mondale and Diane was a little boy when I was on the scene. And I know I really know in my heart they care. But somewhere along the line Minnesota has been forgotten. I would like to see the delegation Mr. Carr and all these wonderful men I know they're all wonderful. I'd like to see them go you know to Wilbur Mills and to the other fellow on the Finance Committee and save our people in Minnesota aren't supposed to be treated like you are carrying a bill around your pocket a year. And why should so many supper. Why are these great senators that in the south dictate to us up here where we know what we should have and so I would like to read in the paper just what do you know when they were going to raise the Social Security from the minimum Imam wasn't even there I won't even tell you who he was. He could have set it up but he wasn't even there to do it. So yeah well I know my time is over. And so in a way I'm tell you I love all your senior citizen. You know my generation and out of this meeting let's hope something good comes. Thank you Carol. No commitment are built of commitment and I think.
Our congressmen and senators say what we've been doing that all the time but we want the job Henry and we want them to come to the Federation. This great Federation has built it. We never had a meeting like this before. When all you want to help people get out on a rainy day and Cayman meant business. And so now they see they have hurt and we have a bill of commitment. And so I guess I forgot in my something to make. All right. We want to support the bill of action presented today by the railway act to actively work for implementation of the points covered by the Bill of action report to representative representatives of the Metro Federation on a regular basis at least every 60 days to discuss my efforts to get corrective action on Social Security or Social Security injustices. We'll work to arrange for a formal hearing on the House Ways and Means Committee because that seems to be where are troubling us. Are the Senate Finance Committee and I was so happy when Senator Mondale was put on there I thought the next day I get a check in the mail. With. Him. Just let me say because I'm so proud of the Federation and I'm not they tell me keep still.
But the truth of the matter is we have the most wonderful man Federation I've been with them for four years. I've never seen one of them try to promote themself. There are men that have worked labor negotiators and all they are so sincere they have given their time. They dragged us women back and forth to the meetings and they never asked for a penny. So remember if you don't buy the Federation was a time it's great.
Oh yes. OK. I think I got that. Job.
Now we have a bill a commitment and we asked the senators and congressman to sign this bill a commitment. We expect them to work with us to solve some of these problems.
Now I've got a pan handy.
Somebody just gave me one. And if any senator or congressman hadn't got a bill it has got to be Bill a commitment signed yet. Just let me know. Is there anyone here that hasn't signed it yet. Well this is fine now.
I'd like to have responses and the response I could have. Senator how to make the first response.
Before I go one second longer I want you to know I didn't wait to get the pain. I had this signed up when I came in.
I know it's been signed up.
And it isn't a single There's not a single word in there. Not a bit of this bill of commitment that I haven't been committed to. This was like getting married to the same girl all over again as far as I'm concerned.
And Cliff I want to give you my commitment right now signed and sealed. Thought let me just first of all acknowledge that of course the presence of our colleagues here in the Congress Senator Mondale and Congressman Frazier Congressman Carr Congressman burgling and Congressman friends all I can say that these men are in full not only in sympathy with what's been here today but have been working for it.
And our mayor that was here today with his Mayor hostage.
This bill of commitment that I've signed and given to Cliff Carlson as I said a moment ago is just a restatement as far as I'm concerned of what my life in public life has been all about. And I have tried to dedicate that public life to people who needed help. That's the only reason I ever wanted to go back to the Congress of the United States. I went back as a very junior and freshman senator at the low end of the totem pole of public life to me as public service. And I feel that my duty is to you. When I came to you to ask for your help you gave it. And now you've come to us can ask for our help. And we owe it to you as a moral solemn obligation. And it will be given. This coming week.
My colleague Senator Mondale and myself will once again introduce a very broad comprehensive legislation that makes every requirement that you had here today in your Bill of commitment every one of them.
And we'll fight for it and we do fight for it. And I think you need to know that we fight for these things.
I think you need to know what the facts are. I think you need to know that Senator Mondale and your Senator Hubert Humphrey in the United States Senate along with members in the house of our delegation fought for what we call the pass through to make sure that there were no deductions made one of the increase came through in Social Security to make sure that your food stamps and your housing and your pensions and everything else would be protected. And we passed it in the United States Senate 50 United States senators joining with Senator Mondale and myself to get it passed over 50. We went into a committee what we call the conference committee to iron out the difference between the two houses.
And I'm going to lay it on the line.
There was powerful pressure brought from the executive branch of this government.
To see that that didn't happen. Just as every single Social Security increase has been resisted and it's time to tell it like it is.
I come here as the original author of Medicare. You think I like to see it cut to ribbons. Not one bit. I was for national health insurance in 1950. I'm no Johnny come lately to these things. Food stamps I introduced in the Congress in the 1950s and got it passed and I worked with Senator McGovern and Senator Mondale in every single effort made to expand that program and to see that it works. But I want to tell you something. I ran for president of this country one time. I didn't make it. You tried to help. But I can tell you that unless there is an effort at the top unless there is a willingness to go to bat for the people of this country that need help. A mess there is concern about the disabled the poor and the elderly and the children and the sick in America from the president and the cabinet. Things don't happen in this country and you need to know what it's time that we face the facts.
And there isn't that one of us in here that do not know that when you are denied your housing or the rent goes up or when your you have to put up more money for those food stamps or lose them because of these income limitations. That it's wrong it's wrong it's morally wrong it's politically wrong and it is a catastrophe for people. We're not going to let that happen if we can possibly stop it. God only knows you need the help. And I'm here to do all I can and pledge to you with all the power that I have and all the energy I have and whatever skill I have to see that the program that you've outlined here today is a fact you are not asking for one single thing that a decent American citizen ought not to support. And we're going to fight for it. We're going to fight for it but I want you to fight to not just with your you you know this like Beecham preaching prohibition to the Methodists up here with this crowd. I mean we're all for you. We really are. Abra it is good for us to be revved up a little bit for us to be told once again that these are things that we need to do for us to be told to fight. Let's lay to see that things are done and we will pray and we will but we are two in one hundred. There are four here out of four hundred thirty five. We've got to convince the majority we can't run the government by edict we don't have that power as members of Congress. But we will do everything within our power. May I assure you to see that it is done.
Well now I looked over this amazing listing of the injustices senior citizens receiving food stamps senior citizens and public housing seniors on World War 1 pensions seniors Riess seniors receiving or eligible for SSI seniors receiving no armed service disability disabled veterans pensions seniors using Minnesota our property tax credit and seeing that a little increase and it is a little increase.
Its a pittance when you look at 11 percent. Auden in light of what's happened to the cost of living to see that this these little increases are eaten up and not only eaten up but you actually lose when some of us thought that you were going to gain. May I assure you as I stand before you as a man that served you in Congress every year or in government every year since 1945 save two and all of those years we have attempted to work together and we work together on Social Security. The system is not bad it's the way it's operated. Social security is good. What is needed is to make it sufficient to take care of the needs of our people. And when I hear about 11 and a half percent increase in the cost of living that's as phony as a three dollar bill dear friends let me tell you it's a phony.
I'll tell you why. That's a level and a half percent across the board for everybody rich and poor. But when it gets down to people who have incomes of one hundred fifty dollars a month $200 a month or $300 a month or whatever it is they spend so much of their income on food and rent and clothing and utilities that their cost of living has gone up 30 and 40 percent not 11 percent.
That's what's gone wrong in this country.
To it. Senator Mondale and I sit there and listen and we fight against it I want you know and we're sometimes almost successful in time sometimes we are.
We hear the Pentagon come in and say well the reason they need ninety nine billion dollars. Did you get it. Ninety nine billion dollars. The reason they need it is they say it's inflation gone up. Well let me tell you we're going to tell the Congress and the president and the cabinet and anybody else that will listen that what's really gone up is food and rent and clothes and shoes and medical care and drugs and electricity.
Those are the things that have gone up by service chairman of the consumer economic subcommittee I know what's gone up and I know what's wrong. I know what's wrong is that too many people don't see people like you. Too many people don't get the message too much comfortable living for some of us and too much misery for many of us. And that's got to stop things.
I want to thank you for listening to me. I want to especially thank the leadership of this federation for the remarkable work that you're doing. I want to assure you that I am not here just to listen to and gathering again or attend a meeting. I wanted to come and I tell you why I want to come because I did want you to just pace us and tell us to get going and get busy.
We always need to be in a sense reminded of our duty. But the best thing that a man in public life can do is to do his duty and we'll do our duty. Thank you very very much. Ah.
Thank you Senator operate. Now I would like to introduce a late comer a friend of ours. He just showed up his name is Warren Spanish. Attorney General of Minnesota. The Ohio next stop participating Congress now Congressman Bob Byrd going what do you make of response. Thank you OK very much.
My colleagues in the Congress ladies and gentlemen I'm here today because I care about you and about people like you wherever they're found. I would prefer to spend my part of this program listening and so with your permission that's just what I'll do thank you very much. Thank you.
Next we have the Fifth District Congressman Donald Fraser.
Up and. Thank you very much. Cliff Carlson ladies and gentleman. After listening to Senator Humphrey I motioned to Bob Berglund I said I'd like to have you follow. And sure enough that's just what he did I was very grateful to Bob for that. Let me add that while Bob is being very modest in his participation here today because he feels that most of the people here are not from his district and thus he doesn't want to impose on the time of the program that he has been with us. He has voted with us he has supported us in every one of the endeavors in which you've expressed interest to you this afternoon I think we owe a great round of thanks and applause to Bob Bergman for his support. Up on. Here is my signature all affixed onto the bell of commitment. Thank you. The last increase for Social Security was in September of 1972. The 11 percent increase that will fully be effective in July of this year will represent the increases for a 24 month period an increase of 11 percent during a time when even on the basis of the National Statistics the cost of living has gone up by at least 50 percent more than that 11 percent increase which you will be receiving. So it's not enough and as Senator Humphrey's pointed out for those who are on fixed incomes and low incomes who have to spend a large proportion of their earnings on food and on utilities which have been particularly hit by the cost of living there these figures have become meaningless. To illustrate if I'm a part of the problem when the Older Americans Act was passed in the Congress we were aware that every time we tamper with these programs one of them we have an effect on the other. And so we put a provision in this is an amendment which I got which I offered and got accepted within the Older Americans Act asking that some kind of a comprehensive program be developed that a study be undertaken to lead to a program so that when we increase veterans pensions or Social Security or SSI that we not find that that is an illusion because as we give on the one hand we take away with the other the problem has been that that study has never been funded. And so we're a back every single year that we pass Social Security. We're back again with the problem of the effect of the increase on public housing the senior citizen housing on food stamp eligibility on veterans pensions on Social Security the SSI and now the state supplementation. Now as you know in July when the last four percent Social Security increase goes up the SSI goes up 4 percent. In addition and that would be all right except that most people in Minnesota also get state supplementation. And there we have no protection there as your Social Security check goes up and your SSI goes up. You'll find it should go up. You'll find that because of the state supplementation provisions that that will go down and you'll be no better off than you were before. I'm told it will be almost two million people in the United States who will get no effective increase in Social Security who are on Social Security the way the last dance today. So I can do what I think today to reiterate what has been said to you once and will be said to you again. We are committed to the program you've outlined we believe in it. It doesn't make sense to adjust for the cost of living in one piece of income support and have it subtracted from the other pieces that you may be entitled to receive whether it's veteran's pension or supplementary income or whatever it may be. It isn't right and it doesn't make sense. And I just want to say finally that I commend you for this meeting. Well I just claim that we have done as much as any and more than any state delegation. I want to tell you that there is no one of us who will have been here this afternoon who won't go back to Washington with a new sense of determination. When you meet like this and when you lay out these problems and you bring in the testimony that you have this afternoon you reinforce our commitment. You make it much more clear to once how deeply you feel about this and Howard and our task is and I pledge to you that we will redouble our efforts and do everything we can to implement the program you presented. Thank you very very much. BC.
Bill. Thank you John Fraser. And by the way I did Bob are going to. Did you sign your.
I am. Here to hear it. You're already signed. Thank you. Our next speaker is Bill Frenzel congressman from the Third District.
Thank you. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Colleagues distinguished guests and Americans all I'm pleased to have been able to join you today and to hear the interesting testimony and the persuasive testimony that members of this group have put forth.
I am however regretfully going to say that I am not going to tender a sign below commitment to your chairman. And before you start throwing the fresh fruit remember that food has gone up in cost and it should never be wasted not even on politicians but as I look at your statement I was persuaded and as I listened to your witnesses.
By the words of one of them who said we are tired of hearing politicians hot air and we are tired of the false promise and we would like to hear it like it is and I don't mean to intimate that there are false promises being made here. What I am saying is that I don't want to make any.
From me to you. And I'd like to take a look at your bill of action with you and tell you that in general I support it and the commitment letter I support everything except I had a number one and will be pleased to meet with you and support their report to you whenever you need it just as I'm willing to meet with any constituent anywhere to discuss any matter that's important with them. I agree that food stamps should be raised proportionately I think it's an excellent provision. I'd call your attention to the fact that food stamps that we have raised in cost to the federal government over the past 10 years from thirty five million dollars to four billion. And I wonder where we're going with it and how we're going to adjust that program and once we're what we do for seniors then what do we do for somebody else in my district there is no place where anybody senior or junior or middle size can even go to get stamps.
And the program needs plenty of improvement besides what you suggested in the area of public housing the Senate has already this year pass a bill which doesn't do anything for your number two. The house is soon to pass a bill that's going to come out of my committee and I can't guarantee that we're going to be able to get that for you. My best guess is that we cannot. Because our housing assistance to local housing authorities has also increased from about 30 million to 400 million in the last eight years. And if we were to do what you suggested in number two for every class of citizen who is in public housing there would be no public housing.
But as I think you've seen already what's happened to the rents in your local housing agency in Minneapolis. So it's a good idea and it's a great but I'm going to vote first for a housing program that works for all America.
And if we get that housing program then I'll do my best to get you what you'd like to have with respects to three four and five I've written the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the house weekly for the last 10 weeks and I can't promise you I'm going to do any good on those three items I haven't got hearings on him yet. And I don't know if I'm supporting all of those bills or not they all look pretty good to me. But by the time any committee gets done with them they may be as you want them they may not be. I think Congressman fries bill is a fine bill and I think our veterans are due some sort of decent treatment by their government ought to be grateful for their service.
But whether those are exactly the ones I don't really know. Your item 7 and your items 8 are. I think in fairness to yourself and your officers a little unclear as to their financial implications. If I look at number seven I can see costs in there.
For instance if we set a 5000 limit that would give us a cost of 10 billion dollars on an underfunded Social Security system right now. And so I am exceedingly nervous about that because I don't know what they're going to do with it. I agree I'd like to see the system go the way you're leaning but I have no idea what the numbers are and what I'm to vote for what I am to support. On the subject. Number eight when we talk about limiting or taking the limit off of maximum earnings if we're to do that that will also cost 4 billion. In fact if we raised it from twenty four hundred up to 3000 It will cost us two thirds of a billion dollars. And so what I'm saying to you is I'm interested in every one of the items on your bill a commitment and I'm interested in working with you for them. But I'm also going to tell you honestly that they aren't all going to happen and we're going to have to trade off the dollars and value what we want and what we don't want.
And so again I wouldn't have come here simply to tell you I'm not going to sign your bill or commitment I came here to tell you I'm interested in you. I will do what I can for you. I will not tell you I can do something that I cannot. Thank you thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Her Bill Frenzel for presenting your views. Next we have Joe Carr from the 4th district St. Paul. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you very much cliff and if you ever get tired living over here in Minneapolis why you were St. Paul we got a lot of good folk over there.
Cliff I did sign this bill of particulars. You know this is nothing new from me either.
Senator Humphrey said it all and I'm not going to reiterate what he said but I added two words. Number four. Let me just explain that you're looking at the least senior member of the Ways and Means Committee on the Democratic side and the least senior member of the Ways and Means Committee doesn't tell the committee that's never traveled anywhere to hold hearings. But they are absolutely going to St. Paul in Minneapolis and hold public hearings. And so I just said I put the words in. Try to I will work to try to arrange for the formal hearings and that I can commit myself to but I can't commit myself to the I will work to a range because I don't know that I can arrange it very hard if you want to hang on to that.
But let me just speak very briefly about this SS I pass along thing. You know it was a young congressman from California by the name of Carmen and fellow about his age from Minnesota by the name of Joe Carr on the Ways and Means Committee that got the S S I passed along in the in the committee bill. That's right that's a matter of record. But when it went to the floor you know an amendment was offered.
That is to take the pass along out of it.
You know what happened to that amendment it passed over my body and over a lot of others here assembled on this platform but it passed.
And that's a matter of record you ought to have it here.
I have been stood by one door Senator Humphrey and lobbied every single member that came in that door and asked them to to vote against the amendment.
Now that's a matter of record you know and we were relatively proud of our record.
Now there are other people who are not going to agree with that record. But my gosh when we run into somebody who does we'd like to have it made known. Yes sir we sure would.
Cool so the fact of the matter is there are four hundred thirty five of us in the House and 100 in the Senate.
We all don't think alike and we all don't feel alike and we don't all vote alike.
That's most unfortunate on occasions because some of us have very strong feelings about how we ought to be voting on matters of great concern to this country and and great concern to the people of this country. Now let me just read Having said that and your not having had an opportunity to see a direct record let me just read to you very briefly from a letter and I have I'll bet you dollars to donuts that every member of Congress on this platform received one.
But it's addressed to me dated May 15th 1974 Now that's not too many days ago what three was addressed Dear Congressman Carr.
The National Council of senior citizens is holding its troff Constitutional Convention June 13 14 15 at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C.. The theme of this year's convention will be quote forging the links of communication cooperation between senior citizens and lawmakers at the federal state and local levels.
The reception will honor those senators and congressmen who earned a hundred percent rating in the voting record produced by the National Council of senior citizens.
Now at least your national council knows what our record is and it's signed by Nelson Cruickshank. And if the chairman of your group wants a copy of it I'll give him the original and he can send me a copy.
But that happens to be part of the record.
And so Cliff I don't mind taking the heat.
You know I made a little in my time too like Senator Alfre says but I don't like to take heat unnecessarily and unjustly.
And so I merely suggest to you that you know the real way to find out who your friends are or to find out if they agree with you on these matters and you may well have matters of interest way beyond these things because you're all good solid citizens of this country.
But you ought to take a look at our total record and see whether or not you agree with it and whether or not on the basis of that record we do in fact merit your continued support and if we don't in your judgment then you obviously ought to give it to somebody else. In conclusion let me just say that I have enjoyed immensely being the number one invited here and being able to attend and again I want to thank you not only for rearranging the middy NG and meeting cliff and the rest of you who are responsible for that but I'm grateful to all of those of you who came out from relatively long distances perhaps on this Saturday afternoon. Thank you very much Pooh. Bill.
Thank you. Thank you Congressman Carnes now.
Mr. Congressman Mr. senators after your son.
We got one more left.
And you know he's on the Committee on Aging I believe. And so I guess he's from Minnesota too so with that out. Walter Mondale. Thank you OK.
Thank you. Now you can see the difference between Senator Mondale and the rest. Cliff wanted Senator Humphrey and the other members of the House to stand up and tell us where they stood. But he was so sure that I supported the programs of this group that he didn't even feel it necessary to call upon me.
A couple of years ago I met with many of you to talk about these same issues. And then as now you want to know what we intended to do at that point I said I thought we had a chance a good chance of passing a 20 percent Social Security increase and that I would do my best to pass a bill in the Senate to see to it that every penny of that was passed through to Social Security recipients and was not ripped off by anyone else. So that you got the full benefit of that increase. Blanche McIntosh stood up and she's known for me for years and now Senator we don't want any of your baloney today. If you make that promise we expect you to deliver. And I said Blanche I think you know me well enough to know I'm going to do everything I can. Well we passed that 20 percent and I went back to the Senate and I drafted a bill which if it had been signed into law would have prevented the very things that every witness here talked about.
It was a sort of keep your hands off my MF money amendment and it would have meant that every dollar that went to Social Security recipients by way of an increase could not be taken by welfare officials by public housing officials by food stamp officials or by way of reduction of World War 1 or World War 2 pensions. That's the Mondale Bill Humphrey and I led the fight and we passed it in the Senate. And right after we passed it I got wind of the fact that the administration wanted to kill it in conference. So I guess I made up a letter and I went from senator to senator and I got I think it was 57 senators to sign personally on the line demanding that the conferees keep that in the conference report. But the pressure from the administration was so tremendous that they were able to force it out of the bill. Nevertheless now we're going to go back at it again next week come for you and I are going to put that bill in and I reckon we're going to pass it in the Senate. I think we're going to get more help from the house and I hope we can get a little help from the White House this time and stop this scandal of taking people's Social Security money away from us. Thank you.
Thank you. Now there's everyone here talked about the money and of course that's that's where it begins you have to have money to pay your bills.
But you know these issues have another dimension to them and I sense that in everyone who testified today there is an element of breaking one's word involved in this. I remember going home as a brand new United States senator and bragging to my mom about how we passed Medicare.
She was in the hospital sick of cancer at the time and she was so thrilled because the passing of Medicare meant that she could keep the small savings that she had and could go to that hospital with pride and get the decent care that she deserved. And she was proud of her son. And I'll never forget that moment. And now I look at Medicare seven or eight years later and I see the figures that through higher deductibility these higher premiums higher drug costs and all the rest. Most senior citizens pay a greater amount for health care today than the day that Medicare was passed. And I say the government broke its work broke its word.
Thank you and we make a promise. We ought to keep it.
And the same way with Social Security. I know what it must be like.
I don't know as much as you do of course to have to plan every penny and every knuckle and every quarter to make it a goal and to read about say 11 percent or a 20 percent increase and then to cull it out of the hope that maybe life could be a little better only to find that it's all gone and sometimes you're worse off than you were before. I remember when we passed the 20 percent Social Security and when the reality of these techniques for taking the money away from you became clear a senior citizens came up to me one day and he said Senator he said you gave me a 20 percent increase. But before everyone got done with that check I lost $18. He said Please don't help me anymore I can't afford it.
And I say that's breaking that's breaking our word. One final point.
We put in a bill the other day to prohibit presidents from putting in any more messages in Social Security checks. Thanks. Oh ok that shows you how difficult it is sometimes to know what's going on. But I can recall passing a 20 percent Social Security and crease getting it vetoed. Having a bitter fight over writing that made 0 and then coming home and having the folks tell me about getting a letter from the president telling them how grateful he was to send you the 20 percent increase. We've had too much of that stuff going on in this country and in addition to dealing justly with senior citizens we've got to restore this government to leadership that tells the truth and the base of the law. Thank you. Put.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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- A hour program covers a 1974 Metropolitan Senior Federation rally. During the 1974 rally, over 1000 senior citizens gathered in Minneapolis to express their discontent with inequalities in social security increases before a panel of six senators and representatives. The rally was led by the Metropolitan Senior Federation. This event coverage includes speeches and songs from the rally.
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Producing Organization: Minnesota Public Radio
Publisher: Minnesota Public Radio
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Identifier: 33244 (MPR Media Archive Label)
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- Chicago: “Midday; Metropolitan Senior Federation rally,” 1974-05-18, Minnesota Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_43-06sxm29q.
- MLA: “Midday; Metropolitan Senior Federation rally.” 1974-05-18. Minnesota Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_43-06sxm29q>.
- APA: Midday; Metropolitan Senior Federation rally. Boston, MA: Minnesota Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_43-06sxm29q