Legislative Update: July 2012

Legislative Update: July 2012

Seniors Speak Out: TSCL Delivers Petition Tsunami To Congress

By Jessie Gibbons, Legislative Analyst

This year, we challenged our members to be more vocal than ever about their Social Security and Medicare concerns, and our expectations were surpassed to say the least! Our members signed an unprecedented 1,504,372 petitions, and in April, we boxed them up, trekked to Capitol Hill, and delivered them by hand to the offices of each Representative and Senator in the U.S. Congress.

More than ever before, it is critical that seniors make their voices heard on Capitol Hill. In the past two years, countless proposals to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits have been backed by deficit hawks in Congress. Recent plans have called for lower cost-of-living adjustments, increased Medicare means testing, a higher retirement age, and even the phasing out of Medicare altogether. The stakes are high for seniors, and with a critical election just months away, every voice counts. The stacks of petitions that our members signed were delivered along with a personalized letter addressed to each Member of Congress. The letters expressed appreciation to those who have already signed on as supporters of the key issues. To those who have not, however, they conveyed a powerful and urgent message and served as a call to action.

The petitions that poured into Congressional offices this spring urged each Representative and Senator to support key bills like the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act, the Social Security Fairness Act, and the Notch Fairness Act, each of which would go a long way in protecting the earned benefits of seniors. The petitions also protested issues that our members feel strongly about, like amnesty for illegal immigrants and the pending Social Security Totalization Agreement with Mexico.

It’s true that public opinion can sway votes in Congress, especially during a critical election year like this one. TSCL strongly believes that grassroots lobbying is the most effective way for the public to communicate with elected Members of Congress. Our members spoke loudly and clearly when they signed more than 1.5 million petitions, and many Congressional offices met our deliveries with surprise and gratitude. We look forward to partnering with many of those offices in the future to ensure that Congress lives up to the commitments it has made to seniors.