The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

June 16, 2011

Marino: AARP lies to members

SUNBURY — U.S. Rep. Tom Marino on Thursday night accused AARP of lying to its membership and called a new series of AARP television and radio ads urging Congress to protect Medicare and Social Security from harmful cuts “downright deceitful.”

AARP launched a new multi-million-dollar television ad campaign Thursday that pushes for legislators to avoid any deal to pay the nation’s bills that would result in harmful cuts to the critical Medicare and Social Security benefits that millions of Americans have earned.

The TV ads take on any legislator who would think about cutting Medicare.

“If Congress really wants to balance the budget,” the script for the ad reads, “they could stop spending our money on things like a cotton institute in Brazil, poetry at zoos, treadmills for shrimp. But instead of cutting waste ... or closing tax loopholes ... next month, Congress could make a deal that cuts Medicare ... even Social Security. I guess it’s easier to cut the benefits we earned, than to cut pickle technology.”

After hearing the ad, Marino, in an email, said: “I’d like to say that the AARP attack ads are misleading, but the truth is that they are downright deceitful.”

“The facts are clear. We have two choices. We either reform Medicare now and preserve it for future retirees or we do nothing and let the program go bankrupt in a few years. It’s wrong for the AARP to lie to its membership and to Americans.

“Instead of spending money on political ads to hurt those of us who are trying to save the program,” Marino said, “they ought to come to us and offer their help in finding a solution to this critical problem.”

Dick Chevrefils, AARP Pennsylvania state director, stands by the ads.

“While some members of Congress are considering making changes to Medicare’s structure, what few people realize is that some proposals being discussed behind closed doors include harmful cuts to the critical Medicare and Social Security benefits that are lifelines for today’s seniors in Pennsylvania,” he said.

“Instead of harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security, Congress should cut wasteful spending, close tax loopholes and work to rein in costs throughout the health care system.”

AARP began airing the television spots Thursday.

To date, nearly 1.5 million people nationwide have signed a petition to Congress and more than 4,000 calls and emails have gone into Pennsylvania’s congressional offices in recent weeks, all urging lawmakers to protect Medicare and Social Security from cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Chevrefils added: “This campaign, along with our new ad, will put Congress on notice that AARP will fight with the strength of our millions of members to prevent harmful cuts ...  to pay the nation’s bills. Congress needs to reduce our nation’s debt, but harmful cuts or across-the-board spending limits will hurt today’s seniors in Pennsylvania and do little to reduce health care costs over the long-term.”

— Email comments to rdandes@dailyitem.com

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