Legislative Update for Week Ending November 20, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending November 20, 2015

This week, lawmakers continued working on an omnibus spending bill, and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) endorsed new legislation that would give Social Security beneficiaries an emergency cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year.

Work Continues on Spending Bill

This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate continued their work on an omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year. Lawmakers set a $1.07 trillion cap in the sweeping budget deal that they passed at the end of October, and now they have until December 11th – just three weeks – to outline how those funds will be spent.

According to Bloomberg Government, members of the House Appropriations Committee are still negotiating the spending limits for each subcommittee, and they are far from a deal. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-5) told reporters this week that he’s doubtful Congress will finish the omnibus before the looming deadline.

However, House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (KY-5) remains optimistic and is pushing members of the committee to move quickly. He set a November 20th deadline for each subcommittee to preconference their sections of the omnibus bill. Any work that is not finished by the subcommittees this week will be handled by the leaders of the full Appropriations Committee.

Whether or not appropriators will successfully negotiate an omnibus spending bill before December 11th remains to be seen. If Congress fails to reach an agreement, the federal government will shut down, and Social Security beneficiaries could see delays in their monthly benefit checks. In addition, doctors who treat Medicare patients and other medical providers could experience delayed reimbursements from the government.

TSCL will keep a close eye on the negotiations as they evolve in the coming weeks, and we will encourage lawmakers to avoid another government shutdown. For updates, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or our new account on Twitter.

TSCL Endorses New Legislation

This week, TSCL announced its support for the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act (H.R. 4012), which was introduced by Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-9) as a companion bill to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s S. 2251.

If signed into law, H.R. 4012 would provide Social Security beneficiaries and retired military members with a 3.9 percent COLA in 2016, which would amount to around $581 for the average beneficiary. It would offset the cost of the emergency COLA and extend the life of the Social Security Trust Funds by closing tax loopholes for corporate executives.

Upon introducing the bill, Rep. Grayson said, “Our seniors built this nation. Our veterans sacrificed to defend it. We owe them so much. This modest raise is one way to repay them.”

TSCL agrees enthusiastically and we believe the SAVE Benefits Act introduced by Sen. Warren and Rep. Grayson would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security seniors have earned. We look forward to working with them in the months ahead to build support for their critical new bill.