Surprise! Senator Pryor Supports Raising Social Security Retirement Age

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Senator Mark Pryor wants reporters to ignore the fact that he supported … wait for it … increasing the Social Security retirement age.

Hypocrisy: [hiˈpäkrisē] the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

Senator Mark Pryor, desperately seeking to deflect attention away from his unyielding support of Obamacare, has taken to the same old MediScare tactics used over and over and over by Blanche Lincoln in 2010.

As part of the effort to scare and mislead seniors, Pryor and his allies routinely attack Tom Cotton for supporting an increase in the Social Security retirement age. The only problem? So does Senator Pryor! In a video interview with KTTS, Pryor advocated increasing the Social Security retirement age to 69. You can click here to watch the video for yourself. 

But reporters are beginning to notice Senator Pryor’s “Road to Damascus” moment. Independent columnist Steve Brawner wrote“But despite what his campaign ads are implying, even Pryor knows there really are problems with Social Security and Medicare. He said so repeatedly in 2010 and 2011. Those problems are fixable, but only if we acknowledge they exist.”

The Weekly Standard writes: “In 2011, Pryor touted raising the retirement age for those not yet on the program as a good fix to Social Security’s insolvency.”

National Journal also picked up on Senator Pryor’s hypocrisy, writing: “Sen. Mark Pryor (D) has framed one of the biggest issues of his campaign around protecting seniors, primarily by hitting Rep. Tom Cotton (R) on his support for raising the age limits on Medicare and Social Security. An interview from 2011, however, shows Pryor advocating for raising the age requirements on Social Security.” 

Why would a two-term incumbent Senator attack his opponent for supporting the same thing he supports? The answer is simple: desperation. Pryor knows that his record of rubber-stamping President Obama’s agenda 95% of the time is wildly unpopular in Arkansas. In his view, he must distort Tom Cotton’s record in an effort to mislead seniors, even if it indicts his own previously held positions.

U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton said: “Senator Pryor’s attempts to hide his past statements on Social Security are deeply troubling. If Arkansans can’t count on him to tell the truth about where he stands, how can they expect him to represent their views and values in Washington?”

Does Senator Pryor still want to raise the Social Security eligibility age to 69? If so, why does he continue to attack Tom Cotton on this issue?

Background:

Pryor Suggested Raising The Retirement Age For Social Security To 69

VIDEO: In 2011, Pryor Said That “We Could Fix Social Security Next Week” If We Tell Our Kids’ Generation That They Can’t Get Social Security Until They Turn 68 Or 69. KTSS’s JERRY WESTOMORELAND: “Alright, I want to ask you, and then also Social Security.” PRYOR: “Yeah, Social Security is another thing that’s not in any of the budgets right now, but it is very fixable. And again if people get serious about it in Washington, we could fix Social Security next week, if we wanted to. It’s not that hard to do. Especially if we start right now, because Social Security is solvent until, you know, for about 25 years, so if you make small changes now you have 25 years those little changes to accumulate over time and really help. But you could pretty easily make Social Security solvent in perpetuity. Probably the biggest change would be is that you would take my kids’ generation, teenagers today, and life expectancy is longer et cetera, and probably say that they couldn’t get Social Security until they turn 68 or 69. If you just did that one change you would fix about 80% of it right there.” (KTSS, Interview With Sen. Mark Pryor, 6/6/11)

Pryor Has Been Open To Changing Social Security, Saying “We Need To Put It All On The Table. No Sacred Cows.”

In 2011, Pryor Was Part Of A Bipartisan Group That Wanted To “Trim Social Security, Medicare, Tax Breaks, And A Host Of Other Programs.” “Sen. Mark Pryor said he expects the retreat will be a chance for Democrats to hash out a way forward on the deficit. The Arkansas Democrat is one of a sizable bipartisan group interested in pushing something akin to last year’s presidential deficit commission, which would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the coming decade and trim Social Security, Medicare, tax breaks and a host of other programs.” (Steven T. Dennis and Jackie Kucinich, “Democrats Retreat To Beef Up Agenda,” Roll Call, 2/9/11)

In 2011, Pryor Said The Country’s Deep Deficits Required Overhauling Social Security And Medicare. “Despite calling it ‘political dynamite,’ Arkansas’ senior senator Mark Pryor saidTuesday that the country’s deep deficits and sputtering economy require overhauling Social Security and Medicare. … The Little Rock Democrat avoided saying what concrete steps he favored to rein in entitlement spending.” (Charlie Frago, “Pryor: Programs Must Change,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/5/11)

Pryor Said Entitlement Spending Like Social Security Should Be Fair Game For Spending Cuts. “Every federal program should expect spending cuts, Pryor said. ‘No matter how worthy your program is or how wise you’ll be with your money … just get ready,’ he said. Entitlement spending like Medicare and Social Security and all discretionary spending should be fair game, he said.” (Charlie Frago, “U.S. Strong But Debt A Worry, Pryor Says He Sees All Programs Facing The Ax,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/21/11)

Pryor: “We Have To Take A Hard Look At Entitlement Programs, Including The Sacred Cows Of Medicare And Social Security, And Admit That We Cannot Bring Our Spending Into Balance Without Changes In These Programs.” (John Lyon, “Pryor: Medicare, Social Security Must Be On Table For Spending Cuts,” Arkansas News, 1/4/11)

Pryor: “We Need To Put It All On The Table. No Sacred Cows.” (Charlie Frago, “U.S. Strong But Debt A Worry, Pryor Says He Sees All Programs Facing The Ax,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/21/11)