Democrat Chris Murphy gave AARP a commitment Friday to support an anti-discrimination bill to protect older workers, something Republican Linda McMahon declined to do Thursday in her conversation with the advocacy group.

“It’s really important. It’s important because what we’ve seen over the course of the recession is a dramatic increase in complaints of age discrimination,” Murphy said. “I hear this over and over again.”

Over two days, the two U.S. Senate candidates separately took questions in two teleconferences from members of AARP, the advocacy group for people over 50 years old.

McMahon took no position on the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, a pending Senate bill that would reverse a U.S. Supreme Court decision that places a heavier burden on workers alleging age discrimination.

“This is a growing problem, and I’m not going to let it stand,” Murphy said.

Each pledged to protect Social Security and Medicare in their teleconferences.

“We have a sacred obligation,” Murphy said.

Murphy, 39, a three-term congressman, said he favors raising payroll taxes on higher incomes to stabilize Social Security. McMahon, 64, a co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, offered no specifics.

Currently, only the first $110,100 of income is subject to Social Security payroll tax, up from $106,800 last year. Employers and employees normally pay 6.2 percent each, but the employee rate was lowered temporarily to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012.

Murphy said he would adjust the cap on taxable income, not eliminate it. He did not say how much income he thinks should be subject to the payroll tax.

Murphy again pointed to previous statements by McMahon in which she appeared willing to consider GOP proposals to turn Medicare into a private voucher system and to one forum in which she talks about “sunset provisions” for Social Security.

“My opponent has indicated at times I have talked about sunsetting Social Security or Medicare, and that is absolutely not the case,” McMahon said Thursday. “I will work very, very hard to put in place legislation to make sure that it is sound, that it continues.”

Related: McMahon: No position on discrimination bill for older workers

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

Leave a comment