From the Friday Alert of November 8, 2013:
Alliance Salutes Veterans All Across the Country

The Alliance and its coalition partners are holding several events around Veterans Day to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces. The events also draw attention to the fact that veterans are affected in multiple ways by the chained CPI cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), a cut to earned benefits. On Thursday November 7, seniors joined veterans at events in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Facebook photos at http://tinyurl.com/ng6dk5h); Appleton, Wisconsin; Champaign, Illinois (video at http://tinyurl.com/pjqebgl); and Dayton, Ohio (story at http://tinyurl.com/qxp6awy). The events are taking place before a December 13 deadline, when a House-Senate conference committee is charged with reaching a budget compromise. There is danger that the compromise will contain a “grand bargain” that would cut seniors’ Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as veterans’ benefits. “The chained CPI is a benefit cut that affects Social Security beneficiaries as well as those who receive veterans’ disability benefits and military pensions. Because of the number of programs that would be subject to the chained CPI, veterans would receive double, triple or more hits from the chained CPI,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

At the Appleton event, approximately 45 activists rallied in front of Rep. Reid Ribble's (R-WI) office to oppose the Social Security benefit cuts that he and 50 other Republican Representatives proposed in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (http://tinyurl.com/psply6q). The protesters also delivered petitions from constituents opposing cuts in the name of deficit reduction and called attention to a new report exposing how the chained CPI will harm veterans and Social Security beneficiaries in Wisconsin (http://tinyurl.com/qggwv38). Rep. Ribble is an outspoken advocate for raising the retirement age, adjusting the COLA formula, means-testing Social Security benefits and other benefit cuts. For photos from the Appleton event, go to http://tinyurl.com/oyc7rtw (photo credits: Wisconsin AFL-CIO).

“The greatest part of Veterans Day is that it is about honoring and thanking veterans among us. So if you know a veteran family member, a coworker or a neighbor, just take a moment to say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ said Jimmy Gilbert, Director of the AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council. “On behalf of the AFL-CIO's Union Veterans Council officers and staff, I would like to say no matter when and where you served our country, ‘Welcome home and thank you,’” he added.


From the Friday Alert of November 15, 2013:
Veterans Day Message: “Don’t Cut Veterans’ Benefits”
The Alliance continued holding events with coalition partners around Veterans Day this week, drawing attention to the fact that veterans’ benefits would be cut in multiple ways if the chained CPI cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) formula were to be adopted. The chained CPI affects Social Security beneficiaries as well as those who receive veterans’ disability benefits and military pensions. Because of the number of programs that would be subject to the chained CPI, veterans would receive double, triple or more hits. With that in mind, Alliance members held events this week in cities including Waco, Texas; Ankeny, Iowa; St. Louis, MO; and Reading, PA. The events are taking place before a December 13 deadline, when a House-Senate budget conference committee is charged with reaching a 2014 budget compromise. Such a deal could contain a “grand bargain” that would cut seniors’ Social Security and Medicare benefits.

The Waco event focused attention on Texas Rep. Bill Flores, one of 51 House Republicans who signed a letter authored by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) advocating cuts to earned benefits. The letter argued for raising the retirement age; adjusting the COLA formula; means-testing Social Security benefits; and other cuts (http://tinyurl.com/psply6q).  See the Waco Tribune’s coverage of the Alliance’s Texas event at http://tinyurl.com/pqx6o6d.

The Iowa event focused on Sen. Charles Grassley (R), who is on the budget conference committee. For a TV clip about the event from Des Moines local news, go to http://tinyurl.com/n4zqans. For print coverage, see http://tinyurl.com/me4xpkf. The St. Louis event, held fittingly at the Soldiers’ Memorial, was covered by local radio as well as affiliates from NBC, FOX, and CBS. Finally, for coverage out of Pennsylvania, go to http://tinyurl.com/lkp33bh. “All of the events were great successes in letting people know what seniors and veterans could soon be facing,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “Some people needed a reminder that we should honor our veterans by ensuring that they receive all of their hard-earned benefits.” 

Along those lines, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and J. David Cox, chair of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council and president of AFGE, co-authored a blog post that ran in Huffington Post on Veterans Day. They drew attention to the members of our armed services who gave their lives in service of our country, as well as to 3.2 million disabled veterans and their families -including the 350,000 spouses and children who live with a disabled veteran, or who lost a loved one in battle. To read the full post about benefits for them, go to http://tinyurl.com/lyb5zue.