Legislative Update for Week Ending October 2, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending October 2, 2015

This week, lawmakers passed a temporary spending bill just hours before a government shutdown was set to occur. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for one new bill, and one piece of legislation gained critical new support.

Congress Averts Shutdown

On Wednesday, just hours before funding for the federal government was set to expire, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a shutdown like the one that occurred two years ago. The temporary fix will provide enough funding to last through December 11th.

Leaders in Congress are reportedly already discussing their next budgetary move – a long-term deal that would fund the entire government for the next two years. It remains to be seen whether they will reach a compromise before the looming deadline. According to House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (KY-5), they will need to have the parameters for the deal set by November 11th so that appropriators have the time needed to negotiate the details.

TSCL will be keeping a close eye on the budget discussions in the weeks ahead since a government shutdown could impact the Social Security and Medicare programs negatively. We will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website, or over on our Facebook page.

TSCL Endorses New COLA Bill

This week, TSCL endorsed one new bill sponsored by Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16) – the Guaranteed 3 Percent COLA for Seniors Act (H.R. 3588). If signed into law, the bill would base Social Security cost-of-living adjustments on an inflation index specifically for seniors, and it would guarantee a minimum increase of 3 percent each year.

In a letter of support for the bill, Ed Cates – TSCL’s Chairman – wrote: “As you know, Social Security beneficiaries today are struggling to keep up with rising costs. Our research shows that seniors have lost over 20 percent of their purchasing power since 2000, and last year, their benefits increased by $19 while their expenses jumped by nearly $120. These are clear signs that the COLA is growing too slowly.”

TSCL feels strongly that the Guaranteed 3 Percent COLA Act would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security seniors have earned and deserve. We lend our enthusiastic support to H.R. 3588, and we look forward to working with Congressman Engle through the remainder of the 114th Congress to help build support for his important new bill.

Key Bill Gains New Cosponsors

This week, two new cosponsors – Reps. Mike Burgess (TX-26) and Lamar Smith (TX-21) – signed on as cosponsors to the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 1716). The cosponsor total is now up to thirty-one.

If adopted, H.R. 1716 would prohibit unauthorized workers from receiving Social Security benefits based on work done while in the country illegally, using stolen, fake, or fraudulent Social Security numbers. TSCL was pleased to see support grow for H.R. 1716 this week, and we will continue to advocate for it on Capitol Hill in the months ahead, since we feel that protecting the integrity of the Social Security program is of utmost importance.