Legislative Update for Week Ending November 9, 2012

Legislative Update for Week Ending November 9, 2012

Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts this week for Tuesday’s much-anticipated election. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill to begin the action-packed lame-duck session – and to face the impending “fiscal cliff” – on Tuesday, November 13th.

Election Leaves Balance of Power Intact

The current makeup on Capitol Hill will remain intact for at least another two years. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden won a second term, defeating Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1). In addition, Republicans will maintain their control of the House with at least forty-one more seats than Democrats, and Democrats will maintain their control of the Senate with a less than 60-vote majority.

Members of Congress that are strong supporters of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) and those who have introduced key bills fared well in Tuesday’s election, leaving us hopeful that the 113th Congress will be a successful one. We look forward to working with both new and veteran lawmakers in the new Congress on the following issues, among others:

  • Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment – Ensuring for a fair, accurate, and guaranteed COLA;
  • Social Security Notch Reform – Working towards benefit equality for older Americans;
  • Totalization Agreement with Mexico – Preventing an unnecessary and unspecified drain on the Social Security Trust Fund;
  • Protection of the Social Security Trust Fund – Ensuring that the program’s assets are locked out of the general budget;
  • Prevention of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse – Eliminating inefficiencies within Social Security and Medicare;
  • Prescription Drug Re-Importation – Making safe, secure re-importation a reality;
  • Social Security Reform – Extending the program’s solvency without enacting harmful cuts;
  • Medicare Reform – Protecting seniors from sudden and harsh changes to the program.

To learn more about these issues, click HERE.

Congressional Leadership Turns Focus to “Fiscal Cliff”

With the election behind them, leaders in the House and Senate have finally turned their focus to the fiscal cliff, the combination of tax increases and automatic spending cuts – including a 2 percent cut for Medicare providers – that are set to take effect at the start of 2013. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH-8) both announced their positions shortly after election night came to a close with the hopes of reaching a compromise quickly.

Unsure about the likelihood of reaching a “grand bargain” before January, Boehner spoke about his hopes of putting together a temporary fix to avert the cliff, with more serious deficit reduction talks taking place in 2013. He stated: “Lame-duck Congresses aren’t known for doing big things and probably shouldn’t do big things, so I think the best you can hope for is a bridge.” Reid, on the other hand, spoke about his hopes of averting the cliff as a part of a larger deficit reduction deal. He stated on Tuesday night: “I’m not for kicking the can down the road … I think we should just roll up our sleeves and get it done.”

Various Senators and outside groups have been working furiously over the past two months to form comprehensive deficit reduction packages, but whether or not they will come into play remains to be seen. TSCL will work with lawmakers in the coming weeks to responsibly avert the fiscal cliff, protecting seniors from any harmful benefit cuts or any changes that could affect their access to care. We will continue to post updates about the evolving negotiations here in the Legislative News section of our website.