Fact Checker: Vernon says Blum wants to raise retirement age

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“Blum voted to cut Social Security” and “Blum would raise the retirement age to 70.”

Source of claim: Monica Vernon, a Cedar Rapids Democrat running for U.S. House 1st District, in her “Take a Look” ad that started airing Sept. 19.


The U.S. government spent $877 billion on Social Security in fiscal 2015, which was nearly one-quarter of the federal budget, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Government trust funds established to help the United States cover Social Security for the baby boomer generation are expected to be depleted by 2029, the CBO reported. At that time, if income taxes and payroll taxes coming into the program aren’t enough to cover retirees, payments would have to be limited. Some politicians want to change the system now.

U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Dubuque, was among 132 House Republicans to vote March 25 for a budget resolution amendment proposed by the Republican Study Committee. That proposal would have balanced the budget by cutting $7.1 trillion in spending over 10 years, according to The Hill.

“This budget proposes to continue a gradual increase of two months per year until the full retirement age reaches 70,” the RSC Blueprint for a Balanced Budget states.

“Under this plan, for individuals born in 1962, the retirement age would increase to age 67 and two months. The full retirement age will reach age 70 for individuals born in 1979 or later.”

Blum spoke up for raising the retirement age at a 2012 Cedar Rapids event.

Americans who have worked at least 10 years can qualify for Social Security at age 62, but their benefits would be lower than if they worked until 66.

Raising the retirement age to 70 reduces the amount of money a retiree would receive overall and disproportionately affects low-income people, who have less money in savings and shorter life expectancies, according to Kathleen Romig, an analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C., think tank that pursues policies that reduce poverty and inequality.

The committee’s blueprint failed 294 to 132, with 112 House Republicans joining Democrats to vote down the plan.


Blum voted for the Republican plan that would have reduced Social Security spending, in part, by raising the retirement age.

The amendment would have been part of a non-binding budget resolution, rather than a bill that goes on to the president to be signed into law. But Blum’s vote does indicate support for the Social Security reforms within the amendment. We give Vernon’s claims an A.


The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/office holder or a national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our market. Claims must be independently verifiable. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette.com.

This Fact Checker was researched and written by Erin Jordan.

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