On Tuesday, Forbes magazine’s online site offered a write-up on the likelihood of a “grand bargain” between Democrats and Republicans that would shrink the national deficit but cut earned benefits for seniors.
"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
This week, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives expressing clear opposition to using the chained CPI method to calculate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits. In light of recent budget proposals that include chained CPI, it is crucial that Rep. Cicilline’s resolution receives a high level of support.
The Alliance joined the broad Strengthen Social Security coalition Tuesday at the White House to deliver 2.3 million petitions against the proposal to change the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) to the chained CPI formula, which would cut benefits for current and future beneficiaries. President Obama’s budget released Wednesday outlines over $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but headlines centered around his first-ever proposal to cut Social Security. Tuesday’s action was widely covered in the media. Tens of millions of workers, seniors and disabled veterans were represented. Their message: “We must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, disabled vets, the sick, the women or the children.” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), headlining Tuesday’s event, said, “When one out of four major profitable corporations pays nothing in federal income taxes, we know how we can deal with deficit reduction in a way that is fair.” Videos from the press conference and rally can be viewed here http://bit.ly/ZKr1Lh.
Press reports indicate that President Obama will include cuts to Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) and Medicare in his budget proposal next Wednesday http://nyti.ms/14T0YSY. The President will reportedly propose the use of the chained CPI to calculate cost of living adjustments (COLAs) if it is linked to taxes on the wealthy and infrastructure investments.
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate passed a budget crafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Unlike the budget plan promoted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week, the Murray budget does not include any cuts to Social Security or to Medicare benefits, nor does it gut Medicaid by turning it into a block grant program.
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.
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.