"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, former President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, former President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, former Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
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Cantor Obstructionism Imperils Finding a Debt Ceiling Solution
July 15, 2011
With little more than two weeks to go before a possible government default, congressional leaders are sounding out their members this weekend over a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling while cutting the overall debt by some $2 trillion over ten years -- or look for an unorthodox legislative approach. A Democratic source familiar with the negotiations said that as President Obama was concluding an Oval Office meeting with Hill leaders on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) interrupted him and for the third time raised doing only a short-term deal. Obama quickly “shut him down” and left the meeting. “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has shown he shouldn't be at the table, and Republicans agree he shouldn't be at the table,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said on the Senate floor. Reid also called Cantor “childish.”
“Majority Leader Cantor has found a way to object to every possible solution provided to solve the debt problem,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Taking revenue off the table is an impediment that has made this situation last much longer than it should. Obstructionism is not the way to get this country through this predicament.”
Alliance Activism Surrounding the Budget Talks
Alliance members have sent almost 1,100 e-mails to the White House since last Friday, urging the President not to cut Social Security in order to address the national debt. Activists followed up those e-mails with phone calls to Capitol Hill on Thursday and Friday this week, demanding that Congress not cut Social Security or its Cost-of-Living Adjustment – or allow a Social Security payroll tax holiday. Three new Social Security fact sheets explaining what’s at stake are available on the Alliance web site at http://www.retiredamericans.org/issues/social-security. Those three concern the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment, the Chained CPI formula for cutting Social Security, and the Payroll Tax Holiday. On Tuesday, the Alliance joined 27 other senior organizations in signing on to a letter to Members of Congress detailing how proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and traditional pensions would harm the retirement security of millions of retirees: http://bit.ly/ogBiOA. “Though we are continuing to monitor the situation closely, we need all our members to act swiftly and call their elected officials to speak out against cuts to Social Security,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer Director of the Alliance.
Leaked Memo Reveals How Medicare, Medicaid Could be affected by Deficit Talks
According to Kaiser News, Washington is abuzz about a spreadsheet that was leaked on Tuesday morning outlining potential Medicare and Medicaid savings that could end up in a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. The summary is an outline of areas that House and Senate negotiators discussed during debt ceiling negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden, Cantor told reporters on Tuesday. The summary includes possible increases in beneficiary cost sharing, or lower payments to nursing homes, home health and clinical laboratory services, as well as changes to supplemental Medicare insurance coverage known as Medigap. The list, which totals between $334 billion and $353 billion in savings over the next decade, also includes a potential $100 billion in Medicaid cuts – possibly from a blended rate of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Payments to states. Download the file at http://bit.ly/nDlsw5. “These cuts would hurt all seniors, but they would hit women and those with multiple conditions particularly hard,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. The Alliance worked together with AFSCME this week on tele-conference calls with reporters in Virginia and Missouri, drawing attention to the harm that would result from cuts to Medicaid funding in those two states.
Wisconsin Recalls: 6 for 6 in Democratic Primaries
This Tuesday, Wisconsin saw the defeat of 6 “fake” Democrats in the Democratic primary races for the state’s recall elections. In an effort to delay the recall elections 30 days, Wisconsin Republicans placed “fake” Republicans in these primaries. Now, the 6 original, “real” Democratic candidates will run in recall elections against State Senate Republicans who approved the Governor’s sweeping budget proposal for 2011-2013, including the controversial provision to strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees. In the past several months, the Wisconsin Alliance has been busy recruiting hundreds of retirees to participate in demonstrations; taking part in media events and recruiting speakers; calling thousands of union retiree households for a Supreme Court race; holding 14 town hall meetings on the impact of the Governor’s budget; and making dozens of presentations to WIARA affiliates on the impact of the state budget. WIARA is also recruiting members to participate in member to member walks, making thousands of calls, and mailing to retiree households around the recalls.
Medicare, Medicaid Anniversary Events Begin on Monday
July 30 marks the 46th anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Nineteen Alliance events are currently scheduled throughout the country, beginning on July 18, to mark the birthday as well as educate the public on the importance of these programs. To find an event near you, go to http://bit.ly/rrH0jo.
Kathleen Sebelius, Mary Kay Henry, Hilary Shelton to Speak at Alliance Convention
Help us mark our 10-year Anniversary at our upcoming Legislative Conference, Celebrating Our Past, Fighting for Your Future, on September 6 - 9, 2011 in Washington, D.C.! Information and registration forms were mailed in May. You may also register online at http://bit.ly/hQro1V. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union; and Hilary Shelton, Director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy, have been added to the program as speakers. Any questions, please contact Event Coordinator Joni Jones at 202-637-5377 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or else visit http://bit.ly/pjVbXy.
Current and Former Alliance Presidents Travel to Nevada, Iowa
President Easterling traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to address the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Retired Members’ Council meeting on Saturday. Former Alliance President George Kourpias spoke at the Iowa Alliance convention on Wednesday in Des Moines. Don Rowen was re-elected as President of the Iowa Alliance at the event.