Seniors’ Issues Front And Center In Government Shutdown/Debt Ceiling Talks
Last Week, a Letter Instigated by U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (Republican-Wisconsin) was signed by 51 House Republicans, urging Speaker John Boehner (Republican-Ohio) to Make Cuts to Social Security Benefits Before the Debt Ceiling is Raised and the Government is Re-Opened. To Read the Letter and See If Your U.S Representative Was One of those Who Signed It, go to http://bit.ly/164ZAZY. The Letter Recommends: Raising the Retirement Age; Implementing the Chained CPI Benefit Cut to Social Security; Means Testing Social Security Benefits for Higher Income Recipients; and Cutting the FICA Withholding Rate that Funds the Social Security Trust Fund. “The Letter Was Nothing Short of a Direct Assault on Social Security,” Alliance For Retired Americans Executive Director Edward Coyle said. “This Will Undoubtedly Be a Major Issue for Months to Come and into the 2014 Elections.” A Blog Post About the Letter at The Daily Kos is here: http://bit.ly/GROQZe. Also, Last Week, another Representative from Wisconsin - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan - Published an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal Asking For Cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in Exchange for an Increase to the Debt Ceiling: http://tinyurl.com/larfndb. For the Latest on the Budget Negotiations from Politico, go to http://tinyurl.com/kt6e2tk.
More Than Two Dozen House Republicans Open To A Clean Government Funding Bill
Several House Republicans have said they are Open to Supporting a “Clean” Continuing Resolution (CR), a Government Funding Bill), but are Not Interested in Forcing a Vote on Such a Measure. Such a Bill Would Re-Open the Government Without Cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or Any Other Conditions. Democrats have Launched a Discharge Petition Aimed at Forcing a Vote on that Legislation. Two Hundred and 18 Signatures are Required to Compel a Roll Call and that Looks Unlikely Any Time Soon. House Speaker John Boehner (Republican-Ohio) has said a Clean Continuing Resolution Doesn’t Have the Votes to Pass the House. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat-Nevada) Challenged Boehner Last Week to Prove It by Scheduling a Vote. To see which Representatives are Open to a Clean CR and What Theyre Saying, go to http://tinyurl.com/mgqzw6x. The Alliance sent a Special Message to Activists from those Representatives’ and other Congressional Districts, including a Pass-Through Letter to the U.S. House Last Week. If You Have Not Signed the Letter Demanding a Clean Continuing Resolution to Re-open the Government and No Cuts to Seniors’ Programs, go to http://bit.ly/1gwvc2a.
Gerrymandering Has Made The Tea Party Stronger
According to The National Journal, Resolving the Serial Showdowns over the Federal Budget and Debt Ceiling May Be More Difficult Now Than During the Last Shutdown under Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich Because So Many More House Republicans Today Represent Safe GOP Districts (http://tinyurl.com/k2ppet5). “Comparing Today's (232-Seat) Republican Majority with the (236 Seats) Republicans Ultimately Held After Special Elections and Party Switches from (1995-96) Underscores the Extent to Which GOP Legislators Have Succeeded in Fortifying Themselves into Homogeneously Conservative Districts,” the Article says – a Reference to Gerrymandering. Data Shows the Percentage of House Republicans in Overwhelmingly Safe Districts has Soared, while the Portion in Even Marginally Competitive Seats has Plummeted. This Means the Personal Electoral Incentives for Most House Republicans Would Encourage More - Not Less - Confrontation as the Standoffs Proceed, notes Gary Jacobson, an Expert on Congress at the University of California (San Diego). “The Electoral ‘Threat’ of Them Angering Anybody Outside of Their Base is Pretty Low,” he says. “I Don’t Think this is What Our Forefathers Had in Mind When They Set Up the American System of Government,” Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks said. “Gerrymandering Sets Up a Dynamic Where a Small, Extreme Faction Can Subvert the Constitution.”
Early Voting For Cincinnati Pension Issue Has Begun
Early Last Week, the Alliance and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Teamed Up to Recruit Volunteers to defeat Issue 4 - a Ballot Initiative to Eliminate Public Workers’ Pensions in Cincinnati. The Biggest Change would be to Workers Employed by the City Beginning in 2014. Instead of Getting a Defined Benefit at Retirement, with a Known Payment Each Month, Employees Would Have a 401k Plan. In addition, Taxes and Fees on Cincinnati Residents Would Increase. Ohio Alliance President Norm Wernet and Ohio AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184 Coordinator Betty Thomas Led a Conference Call with Local Alliance and AFSCME Members, telling them Early Voting on this Issue Has Already Begun and that the Election Will Be Held on November 5th. “These are Hard Workers Who Depend Even More On Their Pensions, Because They Don't Receive Social Security,” Wernet said.