REGO PARK — With only two weeks remaining until primary election day, assemblyman and congressional candidate Rory Lancman took to the streets of Rego Park Tuesday to attack his opponents for failing to push for Social Security reform.
Lancman, flanked by senior citizens outside of the Social Security Administration building on Austin Street, called for lifting the cap on Social Security taxes for those who earn more than $110,600 per year. According to Lancman, lifting the cap would guarantee the program's solvency for the next 75 years.
"Social Security is in crisis," Lancman said. "There are some candidates in the race that don't think so. They don't see the imminence of the problem."
The Fresh Meadows Democrat, who is competing for a newly-created congressional seat in Queens, accused his opponents, Assemblywoman Grace Meng of Flushing and City councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of Middle Village, of "sticking their heads in the sand" on the issue.
Lancman claimed Crowley opposes lifting the Social Security tax cap and cited a May 24 debate during which Lancman claimed that Meng said Social Security funds were in no danger of running out soon.
"A real clear distinction has emerged here between the candidates on the Democratic side,"Lancman said, promising that social security would be a recurring theme in the days leading up to the June 26 primary vote.
Stu Leibowitz, the President retiree's association DC37, which represents retired public workers, joined Lancman at the podium. Leibowitz, echoed Lancman's stance on Social Security, saying "people have to take bold, decisive action."
Later, Leibowitz, 74, praised the 43-year-old Lancman, saying "It's nice for us seniors to see a young person caring about Social Security."
"Raising taxes on the middle class and on small businesses is exactly what we don't need to help Social Security," Crowley's campaign said in a statement. "I'm sorry that Mr. Lancman thinks that it is a good idea. My plan is to put people back to work and keep Republicans from cutting Social Security."
Meng's campaign also fired back, saying that the assemblywoman supports raising the ceiling for Social Security in three years, when the economy improves.
"Rory Lancman's repeated distortion of the facts is pathetic and, frankly, disturbing," spokesperson Austin Finan said in a statement. "Grace Meng believes our seniors deserve one-hundred percent of the benefits they are entitled to and is acutely aware of the serious, structural problem facing Social Security."