79 Republicans Vote Against Legislation To Protect Seniors From Fraud
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Senior Financial Empowerment Act. Introduced by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the legislation aims to protect seniors targetted by fraudsters and financial criminals. The Federal Trade Commission reports that nearly one in five seniors are defrauded each year. Additionally, according to a report by MetLife Mature Market Institute, "the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.6 billion dollars."
With strong bipartisan support, the legislation passed by a vote of 335 to 81. But 79 Republicans, nearly half of the caucus — including Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) the ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security — voted against the legislation.
It's not altogether surprising that Republicans would spurn such federal initiatives — even important and uncontroversial ones — on pure anti-government principles. But sometimes, it leaves many of us scratching our heads. What exactly is the principle behind opposing legislation aimed at protecting seniors from fraud? Do they see it as a government takeover of the "avoid fraud industry"? Is this an issue that's best left for individual states to decide? Perhaps the "no" votes reflect the firmly-held belief of many conservatives that if someone is swindled, that's just too darned bad; it's not the government's job to protect people from their own mistakes.
Republicans Who Voted Against Senior Fraud Projection Legislation
It should be pointed out that several of those who voted against the bill, including Reps. Virginia Foxx, Don Young, Donald Manzullo and the aforementioned Johnson are themselves seniors. Rep. Steve King, who isn't a senior but claims to represent the most-aged constituency in the country, also should have supported the legislation. Earlier in the week, King gave a passionate defense of Medicare, saying that he was protecting the folks in Iowa's 5th Congressional District. If that's true, wouldn't it also make sense to protect them from financial fraud?