Legislative Update for Week Ending June 27, 2014

Legislative Update for Week Ending June 27, 2014

This week, The Senior Citizens League’s (TSCL’s) Board of Trustees traveled up to Capitol Hill to meet with six lawmakers and their top aides, and TSCL announced its support for one new piece of legislation. In addition, three key bills gained new cosponsors.

TSCL’s Board of Trustees Visits Capitol Hill

This week, TSCL’s Board of Trustees traveled to Washington, D.C. for their second meeting of the year. TSCL’s all-volunteer Board of Trustees includes the following members: Edward Cates, Chairman; Tom O’Connell, Vice-Chairman; Charlie Flowers, Secretary; John Martinez, Treasurer; Michael Gales, PAC Treasurer; Rick Delaney, President and Liaison of The Retired Enlisted Association; and Larry Hyland, Immediate Past Chairman of TSCL.

The Board joined TSCL’s legislative team, which includes former Congressman David Funderburk and Mrs. Betty Funderburk, on Tuesday for a day of meetings with key lawmakers and their top aides. The following bills, among others, were discussed: the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers CPI-E Act (H.R. 1030), the Notch Fairness Act (H.R. 155), the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 2745), the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795), and the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R. 574).

TSCL would like to thank the following for taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss the issues that matter most to our members and supporters: Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33), Rep. David Jolly (FL-13), Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7), Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-2), Lisa Collins (Legislative Director for Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-2)), and Lisbeth Zeggane (Legislative Assistant for Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2)).

TSCL Announces Support for Key Bill

Also this week, TSCL announced its support for the Empowering Encore Entrepreneurs (E3) Act (H.R. 4613), which was recently introduced by Rep. Joe Garcia (FL-26) and currently has two cosponsors – Reps. Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Patrick Murphy (FL-18). The bill, if signed into law, would direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to increase training and mentoring efforts for older entrepreneurs. It would also require the SBA to report to Congress on the unique challenges and obstacles that encore entrepreneurs face when beginning or expanding small businesses.

According to Rep. Garcia, older workers are more likely than young adults to stay remain jobless after losing employment, and today, more than 7 million Americans fifty-five and older are self-employed. Many of these small business owners lack the training and technical expertise that is necessary in order to see success, but by expanding outreach efforts, the SBA can help empower older Americans and enhance their ability to revitalize the economy. TSCL enthusiastically supports the E3 Act, and we look forward to working with Rep. Garcia throughout the remainder of the 113th Congress to help build support for it.

Three Bills Gain Support

This week, one new cosponsor – Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-6) – signed on to the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 2745). The total is now up to twenty-eight. If signed into law, the bill would prevent Social Security credits from being earned by work done illegally. Currently, those who receive “green cards” or work authorization may file a claim for Social Security benefits based on all earnings – even earnings from jobs where they used stolen, invalid, or fraudulent Social Security numbers. To protect the integrity of the Social Security program, TSCL believes this practice must be put to an end.

In addition, one new cosponsor – Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24) – signed on to the Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act (H.R. 3090), bringing the total up to fifty-two. If signed into law, the bill would incorporate elder abuse prevention trainings, screenings, and reporting protocols into all senior service access points that receive federal funding. H.R. 3090 would take an important step in preventing elder abuse – a problem that affects an estimated 14.1 percent of all non-institutionalized older adults each year.

Finally, two new cosponsors – Reps. Dina Titus (NV-1) and Katherine Clark (MA-5) – signed on to the Strengthening Social Security Act (H.R. 3118), bringing the total up sixty. If signed into law, the bill would reform the Social Security program in three ways: it would adjust the benefit formula, resulting in more generous monthly benefits; it would adopt the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E), resulting in more accurate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), and it would lift the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. H.R. 3118 would extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund responsibly, without cutting benefits for seniors.