By Jarrad Hensley, TSCL Legislative Assistant
The first half of the 112th Congress saw intense political standoffs reminiscent of the 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Bitter partisan divide over budget issues nearly saw a government work stoppage in April, the government’s first non-payment of Social Security benefits in August, and gridlock over the debt crisis in November. The stand-offs were indicative of the make-up of this Congress, which was the first split legislature since the 107th Congress in 2001.
The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) is hopeful that the second session of Congress can yield real solutions from the current policy gridlock that plagues lawmakers. Our legislative team is helping to lead the fight toward common-sense solutions to preserve Social Security and Medicare. While all Americans are stakeholders in the actions of Congress, TSCL recognizes that the earned benefits of vulnerable seniors, in particular, are in the crosshairs during this rough-and-tumble political climate. Each session of Congress, TSCL carefully compiles a non-partisan legislative agenda aimed at maximizing the interests of our valued members.
The 2012 Legislative Agenda features these issues:
• Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment: TSCL is committed to fighting for a consistent, more adequate, yearly COLA that accurately reflects the spending habits of seniors.
• Social Security Reform: TSCL is urging Congress to protect the integrity of Social Security funds for long-term solvency while resisting harsh benefit cuts.
• U.S. – Mexico Totalization Agreement: TSCL is looking to block the pending U.S.-Mexico Totalization Agreement that would allow millions of Mexican immigrants to gain access to Social Security benefits for jobs worked without legal work authorization.
• Social Security Notch Reform: TSCL remains the loudest voice on Capitol Hill for Notch victims (born from 1917 through 1926) who receive less in Social Security benefits than their counterparts born before 1917 and after 1926, to receive a choice of $5,000 compensation or higher monthly benefits.
• Medicare Prescription Drug Policies: TSCL understands that Medicare Part D is not perfect, and a legalized and regulated prescription drug reimportation policy could offer seniors much needed aid.
• Social Security “Trust Fund” Lock-Box: TSCL supports legislation that would prevent further frivolous and wasteful misuse of Social Security’s funds by Congress.
The 2012 TSCL Legislative Agenda acts as a roadmap for providing targeted results for our members. Receiving input from our members is critical to our efforts to construct this plan. Accordingly, TSCL asks that our members utilize the various surveys and petitions that they receive from us to determine the issues most important to them.
Despite the political wrangling that has highlighted 2011’s first session of the 112th Congress, the TSCL core issues have been well received on Capitol Hill. Our first-session successes have led to an ambitious resolve to deliver the concerns of our members to lawmakers. We encourage you to visit sign up to receive email alerts to stay updated on the progress of this agenda.