Legislative Update for Week Ending April 22, 2016

Legislative Update for Week Ending April 22, 2016

This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case against the immigration orders put forth by President Obama back in 2014. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw two key bills gain cosponsors.

Supreme Court Hears Immigration Arguments

On Monday, the Supreme Court’s eight justices heard oral arguments in a case brought forth by twenty-six states and led by Texas in opposition to President Obama’s immigration executive orders. The orders were issued in the fall of 2014 – over a year ago – and if fully implemented, they would delay the deportation of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. Doing so would grant those individuals work authorization and potential access to Social Security and Medicare benefits.

The eight justices seemed sharply divided while hearing Monday’s arguments, and at this point, a 4-4 decision is expected by the end of June. If that occurs, the lower court’s ruling would be upheld, and the executive orders would not be allowed to take effect. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Obama Administration, the White House has vowed to begin rolling out the deferred deportation programs immediately.

TSCL will be keeping a close eye on the Supreme Court case in the months ahead, since the executive orders could affect the Social Security and Medicare programs if implemented. Not only would they impact the revenues received by the two programs, but they would also increase the number of individuals eligible for benefits in the future.

In a press release that was published last week, Ed Cates, Chairman of TSCL’s Board of Trustees, said: “Concern is high among older Americans that undocumented immigrants who illegally worked under fake, invalid, or fraudulent Social Security numbers may at some point receive benefits based on such work.” Legislation before Congress – H.R. 1716 – would prevent Social Security credits from being earned by work completed while in the country illegally, using stolen or fraudulent Social Security numbers. TSCL hopes that Congress will consider the bill on the House floor whether or not the Supreme Court upholds President Obama’s immigration orders this summer.

For updates on the Supreme Court case or the progress of H.R. 1716, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or follow TSCL on Facebook or Twitter.

Key Bills Gain Support

This week, five new cosponsors signed on to the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (H.R. 711), bringing the total up to seventy-eight. The new cosponsors are: Reps. Chris Gibson (NY-19), Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), Lynn Jenkins (KS-2), Mark Pocan (WI-2), and Bennie Thompson (MS-2). If signed into law, H.R. 711 would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision, protecting the earned Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other state and local government employees. TSCL believes the provision must be repealed as soon as possible so public servants receive the retirement security they deserve. We were pleased to see support grow for H.R. 711 this week.

In addition, one new cosponsor – Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-6) – signed on to the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 1391), bringing the total up to ninety. That bill, if signed into law, would strengthen Social Security benefits by adopting a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment, increasing the minimum benefit to 125% of the poverty line, enacting an across-the-board benefit increase, and increasing the threshold on the taxation of benefits. It would also strengthen the solvency of the trust funds for decades to come, through the year 2100. TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 1391, and we hope to see it adopted by the end of this year.