Democrats disagree that Brendan Doherty, the Republican running against Congressman David Cicilline for the CD1 seat, can offer what the conservative former state trooper calls an “iron clad pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security benefits.”
While Doherty is holing a press conference today at 10 a.m. to tout as much, the RI Democratic Party called his “pledge to preserve Social Security and Medicare an empty one, given that leaders in his party have been attempting to undermine these programs for years.”
Bill Fischer, spokesman for the Democratic Party, said in a statement released this morning:
Mr. Doherty is a Romney Republican who has clearly stated he would repeal the Affordable Care Act; raise the eligibility age on Social Security; and will vote for Republican control in Congress. This is an agenda that is bad for Rhode Island’s seniors. The hard truth is that Mr. Doherty is making a pledge to seniors today that he can’t deliver because his party has other plans in mind. The harm the GOP has attempted to inflict on the senior safety net is intensive and Mr. Doherty jumped on the bandwagon when he joined his colleagues in their goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
If Doherty were serious about protecting seniors, he wouldn’t be calling for the repeal of our historic healthcare reform. Maybe he doesn’t understand the enormous benefits Rhode Island seniors have already received since its passage. Thanks to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, 128,390 people on Medicare in Rhode Island have access to preventative health care services, such as colonoscopies and mammograms. In Rhode Island’s First Congressional District alone, 7,300 seniors have saved over $4 million on prescription drugs because the Affordable Care Act closed the donut hole.
The truth is, Medicare and Social Security are under attack by a Republican-controlled House and Doherty would vote to maintain Republican control, allowing these same folks to continue their assault on programs seniors depend on. Democrats recognize Medicare as a fundamental right for seniors, who have earned it, while Republicans view Medicare as a negotiable budget item that can be cut as they see fit. Voters will see past Doherty’s empty rhetoric and realize the difference between the two views.