The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget for fiscal year 2014 on Thursday, 221-207. It was a mostly party-line vote, with only 10 Republicans voting against it, and no Democrats voting for it.
"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, 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, 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, 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
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled a Republican budget on Tuesday that once again proposes privatizing Medicare and turning it into a voucher system, while lowering tax rates on corporations and the wealthy. The vouchers would replace the guaranteed benefits of Medicare but would not keep up with costs, and seniors would be out more and more money every year.
Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling co-authored an op-ed in Huffington Post last week with Witold Skwierczynski, President of the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of Social Security Administration (SSA) Field Operations Locals, on the impact of the sequester on the SSA. The Locals represent about 25,000 Social Security employees in field offices and telephone centers nationwide.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate blocked a plan to avert the sequester without harming Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. As a result, the cuts imposed by sequestration will be in place as of today and will be gradually implemented. S. 388, the American Family Economic Protection Act - the Democratic alternative to the sequester - would have replaced the cuts and raised revenue by requiring millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share in taxes, including a minimum tax.
Alliance members scheduled more than 70 district meetings with their elected officials for this week’s President’s Day Lobby Week. The appointments came as the Senate is set to vote next week - right after the Congressional recess ends - on a plan to stop the March 1 sequester (automatic budget cuts) without harming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, and he featured seniors in his remarks several times. “We are pleased that the President supported reducing taxpayer subsidies for prescription drug companies during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. That is an example of a Medicare change that makes sense,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.
Congressional Republicans are taking the economy hostage again — threatening to blow it up unless vital services for seniors are cut. On Thursday, President Obama warned that Republicans would seek to replace the sequester (automatic cuts currently scheduled to take effect) with cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare, while refusing to raise new tax revenue.
Americans support Social Security and are willing to pay more to preserve and even improve benefits, according to a new survey released on Thursday by the nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). The study, Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want?, finds a sharp contrast between what Americans say they want and changes being discussed in Washington, such as cutting benefits by using a “chained” Consumer Price Index to determine Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
President Barack Obama kicked off his second term on Monday, and his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol was filled with pomp and pageantry. The traditional celebrations came a day after he was sworn in on Sunday, on the constitutionally-required date, in a low-key ceremony at the White House.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post addressed how the federal budget negotiations might play out during the next several weeks. The various scenarios have direct implications regarding whether Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are in immediate danger of being cut drastically.