Legislative Update for Week Ending January 16, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending January 16, 2015

This week, lawmakers in the House passed legislation that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through September and address President Obama’s recent immigration orders. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for two new pieces of legislation.

Lawmakers Debate Spending Bill, Immigration

On Wednesday, with a vote of 236-191, lawmakers in the House passed a $39.7 billion spending bill that would fund DHS through the remainder of the fiscal year. They also passed five amendments to the bill that would address President Obama’s recent immigration orders.

One of the amendments would cut off funding for all of the immigration orders that President Obama has put forth since 2011, including the November order that lifts the threat of deportation for as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. Another amendment would stop the implementation of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals Program (DACA), which currently allows illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain temporary work permits.

In a Wednesday speech on the House floor, Speaker John Boehner (OH-8) stated, “What we are dealing with is a President who has ignored the people, ignored the Constitution, and even his own past statements. In fact, on at least twenty-two occasions, he has said he does not have the authority to do what he did.” In response to the bill’s passage, White House officials issued a veto threat and said “there’s no reason to tinker with the administration’s actions at all.”

The spending bill now moves to the Senate, where its future is uncertain. Leaders are not sure that they will have the votes needed to pass the bill in its current form, and many are predicting that the President will end up signing a “clean” spending bill into law at the end of February.

TSCL will continue to keep a close eye on the evolving immigration negotiations, and we remain hopeful that in the very near future, lawmakers will consider loophole-closing legislation that would prevent Social Security credits from being earned by work done illegally. For updates on the discussions, visit the Legislative News section of our website.

TSCL Announces Support for New Legislation

This week, Senator John McCain (AZ) introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act (S. 122), which would allow individuals to import prescription drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada. Upon introducing the bill, Senator McCain stated:  “This legislation would allow individuals to safely import prescription drugs into the United States from our neighbors to the north, spur much-needed competition in the pharmaceutical market, and save individual Americans up to hundreds of dollars a year.” TSCL supports S. 122 enthusiastically, and we look forward to helping build support for it this year.

In addition, TSCL announced its support for legislation (H.R. 314) from Rep. Grace Meng (NY-6) that would address the Social Security Notch once and for all. It would allow Notch victims born between the years 1917 and 1926 to choose between a $5,000 lump sum payment or an improved monthly benefit calculation. TSCL firmly believes that Congress must provide some compensation to victims of the Notch injustice, and we are hopeful that Congresswoman Meng’s bill will be approved by the end of this year.