DARIEN, Conn. Today's senior citizens don't have to worry about cuts in their Social Security, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes says. Although both political parties sometimes try to scare seniors about the state of Social Security and Medicare, Himes says those programs should be fine for a while.
"Nobody's proposing anything that's going to significantly reduce your Social Security," Himes , D-4th District, told a group at the Darien Senior Center on Wednesday. "It's going to be very different for me, but not for you."
To solve the budget crisis the country is now facing, politicians must put aside partisan fighting, Himes said. He pointed out that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid plus defense spending make up three-quarters of the country's federal budget. "If we're really serious about cutting the budget, we're going to have to have a tough conversation about those three programs."
The seniors were eager to hear from Himes on many issues and asked many questions and talked to him one-on-one about topics close to their hearts. Senior Madeline Boccuzzi suggested that Himes host regular talks with seniors to get their input.
"We are America, and we have most of the answers. It's important to talk to seniors at least once a month. That way he keeps us informed, and we can keep him informed," she said.
During the talk, one senior suggested the government should support more building projects as happened during the Depression, an idea Himes fully supports. He says new roads and bridges will need to be built in the future. "Why not do it now? There are plenty of engineers and carpenters who are out of work."
When asked about Pakistan, Himes said he would love for America to wash its hand of that country, but it has more than 100 nuclear weapons there, a danger in the wrong hands. "Given that threat, we have to engage them and do what we can to provide some stability to that country. Otherwise, the consequences could be catastrophic."
One senior was interested in knowing what citizens can do to help end the gridlock in Washington. Himes encouraged them to reach out to their representatives. "We respond to our constituents. We have to."
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