Progress Report: Getting Congress On Board For Key Senior Issues
By Jessie Gibbons, Legislative Assistant
The first session of the 113th Congress has just reached the half-way mark, and already, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) has much to show for it. Dozens of key bills have been re-introduced, hundreds of thousands of petitions have been hand-delivered to Congress, TSCL's legislative team and Board of Trustees have met with numerous Members of Congress, and in May, we hosted a successful "Welcome Reception" for new and veteran lawmakers and their top aides.
The first few months of this year were spent encouraging lawmakers to re-introduce critical legislation. So far, TSCL's most vital bills have been re-introduced, including the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act, the Notch Fairness Act, the Social Security Fairness Act, and the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act. More recently, TSCL's focus has shifted to building support for these and other bills, and already, many legislators have signed on to them as co-sponsors.
In April, TSCL's staff trekked up to Capitol Hill to hand-deliver hundreds of thousands of petitions to each Congressional office. The petitions were delivered along with a cover letter from Larry Hyland, Chairman of TSCL's Board of Trustees, who encouraged Members to support key bills. He wrote: "Your constituents listed in the following pages are active and informed, and these represent some of the issues that matter the most to them. Each of these bills would go a long way in protecting and defending the earned benefits of senior citizens."
In addition to delivering petitions to Congressional offices, TSCL's Board of Trustees and legislative team – which is led by former Congressman David Funderburk and Mrs. Betty Funderburk – have met personally with more than fifty lawmakers and their top aides. Some highlights include meeting with the following Members of Congress: Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16), sponsor of the Guaranteed 3% COLA Act (H.R. 1585); Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4), sponsor of the CPI-E Act (H.R. 1030); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Co-Chair of the Seniors Task Force; Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7), sponsor of the Notch Fairness Act (H.R. 155); and Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), member of the Senate's "Gang of Eight" and sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Finally, in May, TSCL hosted a "Welcome Reception" on Capitol Hill for all Members of the 113th Congress and their aides. The event offered TSCL's Board of Trustees, legislative team, and staff the opportunity to speak with lawmakers about the issues that matter most to seniors. In total, more than 125 Members of Congress and/or staff were in attendance, and many of them expressed their support for key bills, making the event a great success.
So far, many accomplishments have made the first session of the 113th Congress a memorable one for TSCL. To read more about our latest efforts, check out our Legislative Updates.