The Budget Agreement Averts A Shutdown, But More Work Remains
Last Week, the House Voted 332-to-94 to Approve a Two-Year Budget Deal Crafted By U.S. Senator Patty Murray (Democrat-Washington) and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin). The Legislation Won the Support of 169 Republicans, as Well As 163 Democrats, and Now Heads to the Senate, Where It’s Likely to Pass This Week. President Obama has Signaled He Will Sign the Bill Into Law. For an Individual Tally of the House Vote, go to http://tinyurl.com/lwcah9f. The Agreement Will Not Cut Earned Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Benefits. However, It Missed a Key Opportunity to Close Tax Loopholes Used By Corporations and Wealthy Individuals to Avoid Paying Their Fair Share of Taxes. It Also Makes Federal Workers Pay More For Their Pension Benefits and Cuts Veterans’ and Military Retirees’ Pensions. The Alliance For Retired Americans Issued a Statement (http://tinyurl.com/ksr4dyn) Those Cuts are Particularly Cruel Considering the Missed Opportunity to Generate More Revenue. “Knowing Federal Employees Have Received No Pay Increase the Last Three Years Makes Six Billion Dollars in Increased Retirement Contributions for New Federal Employees Even More Difficult to Accept,” Alliance President Barbara Easterling said. “There’s An Obvious Benefit to Avoiding a Government Shutdown, and Senator Murray Deserves Credit for Reaching a Deal With Representative Ryan, but Sequestration Cuts to Services Need to Be Repealed ‘Altogether’ – ‘Not Just Reduced’ and ‘Repackaged,’” said Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta. Added Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks: “Seniors care About More Than Just Themselves. Unemployment Benefits Should Be Extended for Those Who Need to Work, But are Still Unable to Find a Job. Otherwise, at the End of December, Federal Unemployment Benefits Will Expire for (1.3) Million Jobless Workers.”
Alliance Takes Action On The Budget
All Year, Alliance Members and Coalition Partners Have Joined Americans Across the Country Participating in Rallies and Forums to Protest Cuts in Vital Services to the Middle Class. State and National Leaders Recently Met in Pittsburgh in Advance of the Murray-Ryan Agreement to “Keep Social Security and Medicare Off the Federal Budget Chopping Block.” Pennsylvania Alliance President Wayne Burton and State Senator Jim Ferlo were among the Speakers. Crowds of Workers, Families and Advocates also Gathered in Greensboro, North Carolina and Other Cities Last Week, Driving Home the Need to Replace Sequestration In Its Entirety with New Revenues Raised by Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes (http://bit.ly/19EH4ZV ). Last Week, Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Alliance, Social Security Works, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Campaign for Community Change and Others Held a Press Event on Capitol Hill to Stress the Need for Progressive Budget Priorities That Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Alliance Activists Across the Country Then Participated in a National Call-In Day, Sending a Strong Message to their Senators: “’Thanks’ for Keeping Social Security and Medicare Off the Chopping Block; We Still Need to Close Tax Loopholes and Protect the Retirement Security of Federal Workers and Our Veterans.” Also Last Week, a Small Delegation of Protesters from the Ohio Alliance, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and ProgressOhio Went to Deliver a Lump of Coal to House Speaker John Boehner's (Republican-Ohio) Office in West Chester Township. Their Message Echoed that of the Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Other State Alliance Chapters. “Like Many Children, Boehner has ‘Cleaned Up’ His Act Days Before Christmas,” said Denise Gastesi, a Representative of the Group and ProgressOhio Worker. “We are Pleased that a Bipartisan Budget Seems to Be on the Horizon that Doesn’t Touch Social Security or Medicare. However, We Are Disappointed Corporate Tax Loopholes Remain in Place.”
Petition To Eliminate The Unfair GPO And WEP Provisions Of The Social Security Act
The Rhode Island Alliance Reminds Us the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Penalize People Who Have Dedicated Their Lives to Public Service. Approximately 25% of Public Service Retirees Were Employed in Jurisdictions that Do Not Participate in Social Security. This Includes Many Teachers, Firefighters and Police Officers. For them, Congress Considers a Portion of Their Public Pension Benefit to be Social Security-Equivalent. As a result, the Social Security Benefits They Might Get as the Spouse of a Participating Worker, or Because They Had Once Worked in Social Security-Covered Employment, are Subject to These Two Offsets That Can Severely Reduce and Even Eliminate the Social Security Benefit That Has Been Earned. You Can Sign a MoveOn.org Petition Urging Congress to Enact Legislation, H.R. 3118 and S. 896, to Repeal the GPO and WEP from the Social Security Act, and Further Request that President Obama Sign the Legislation, at http://tinyurl.com/oy8eusb
Third-Way ‘Think Tank’ Generates A Backlash Within Democratic Party
In an Op-Ed Piece Recently Published in the Wall Street Journal (http://tinyurl.com/kpswz7z), Jon Cowam and Jim Kessler - the First and Second in Command at the Centrist Democratic Third-Way Think Tank, Wrote Social Security is Exhibit A of a “Populist Political and Economic Fantasy” Being Touted by Newly-Elected Democratic Leaders such as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat-Massachusetts) and New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio. The Two Elected Officials, They Said, are Disregarding the Program’s “Undebatable Solvency Crisis.” Social Security Works and Others Urged Their Members to Call On Their Congressional Representatives to Decry Third Way for its Wall Street Ties. Many, Including U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz (Democrat-Pennsylvania), Spoke Out Against the Editorial. U.S. Representative Joe Crowley (Democrat-New York) Later Joined Schwartz. Yesterday, Maya Rhodan of Time wrote about it (http://tinyurl.com/ncfk2ln). She said that many View the Op-Ed as Proof That, Like Their Counterparts on the Right, Centrist Democrats are Waging War Against the More Extreme Members of their Party.
Come To The Alliance’s Convention: April 28th - May 1st At Bally's Hotel Las Vegas
Join Us in Las Vegas as We Sharpen Our Organizing and Communication Skills for the 2014 Elections and Beyond! We Will Elect National Officers and Also Community Board Members. Questions? Contact Joni Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 202-637-5377. Ready to Register? Download a Registration Form at http://tinyurl.com/nqnz97a or Register On-Line at http://tinyurl.com/prl8box.