By Jamie McMillen, TSCL Legislative Assistant
TSCL was recently invited to present testimony to the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law at a hearing on immigration reform. TSCL Executive Director, Shannon Benton, testified about the impact proposed legislation could have on the fiscal solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund if an apparent loophole in current law is not closed.
Benton explained that, although "TSCL applauds Congress for attempting to address immigration; we fear that a little-known loophole, in the Social Security Protection Act of 2004, not addressed in the Senate immigration bill, S. 1348, will result in significant damage to the already strained Social Security Trust Fund. In fact, as TSCL previously estimated, this loophole could cost more than $966 billion in Social Security benefits by the year 2040."
Prior to the hearing, TSCL released a report explaining what the long-term costs of paying benefits based on illegal work could have on Social Security. A loophole in current law allows non-citizens who worked illegally to become entitled to Social Security benefits.
This costly loophole has generated national attention. TSCL has been quoted in various newspapers, including USA Today, and our staff has appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch and CNN's Lou Dobb's Tonight to discuss the potential costs of illegal immigration on Social Security.
TSCL staff also recently welcomed the Board of Trustees to Washington D.C. During the week, the Trustees traveled with us to Capitol Hill for meetings with various legislators. All of the meetings were very productive and offered the Board of Trustees a chance to personally thank Members of Congress for ongoing support of seniors' issues.
Meetings were held with Representatives Virgil Goode (VA), who introduced the Anti-Totalization bill (H.Res.18), and Ralph Hall (TX) who introduced "The Notch Fairness Act" (H.R. 368). In addition, we met with congressional staff in the following offices: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (IL), sponsor of (H.R. 380), the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act; Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR), the sponsor of the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act; Rep. Mary Fallin (OK); Rep. Robert Wexler (FL), a long-time TSCL friend; Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL); Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA), sponsor of CPI-E legislation during previous sessions of Congress; and Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO).
As TSCL continues to work with legislators on Capitol Hill to make your issues known, your help is also needed and greatly appreciated. Contact information for your Member of Congress and more information about various seniors' issues can be found at TSCL's website, www.seniorsleague.org.