Legislative Update for Week Ending May 29, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending May 29, 2015

This week, a federal court rejected the Obama administration’s immigration appeal, and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw two key bills gain new cosponsors.

Immigration Appeal Rejected by Court

Back in February, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas temporarily halted President Obama’s immigration orders that would have delayed the deportation of nearly 5 million illegal immigrants. The Obama administration promptly appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

On Tuesday – three months later – a panel of three judges rejected the Obama administration’s request in a 2-1 decision. They ruled that the state of Texas does have the legal standing to challenge President Obama’s executive orders since implementing them will be costly to the state.

In a statement that was released shortly thereafter, White House spokesperson Brandi Hoffine said, “Today, two judges of the 5th Circuit chose to misinterpret the facts and the law in denying the government’s request for a stay. As the powerful dissent from Judge Higginson recognizes, President Obama’s immigration executive actions are fully consistent with the law.”

However, many lawmakers on Capitol Hill were satisfied with the court’s ruling. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) – Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee – said, “President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration poses a clear and present danger to our constitution and I am pleased that the president’s actions continue to be halted so that the states’ lawsuit can continue to move forward.”

Similarly, Sen. Mike Lee (UT) wrote in a statement: “The Fifth Circuit should be commended for its well-reasoned decision to prevent President Obama from implementing his lawless executive amnesty program. Our immigration system is in desperate need of reform. But that reform must be agreed to and passed by Congress, not unilaterally imposed on the American people by the executive branch.”

Many expected the Obama administration to seek an emergency review of the decision by the Supreme Court, but on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that it would not. Instead, the administration said it will focus on another 5th Circuit hearing that’s scheduled for the week of July 6th.

Until then, TSCL will continue to monitor the movement of President Obama’s immigration orders closely, since they could significantly affect the Social Security and Medicare programs if implemented. We will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website.

Two Bills Gain Cosponsors

This week, one new cosponsor – Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3) – signed on to the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act (H.R. 1811), bringing the total up to eleven. If signed into law, H.R. 1811 would base Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) and it would gradually phase out the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. It would extend the program’s solvency for decades into the future responsibly, without cutting benefits for seniors.

In addition, one new cosponsor – Rep. Diane Black (TN-6) – signed on to the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 1716). The total is now at twenty-seven. If signed into law, 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 believes it would protect the integrity of the program while preventing an unnecessary and unspecified strain on the Social Security Trust Funds.

We enthusiastically support H.R. 1811 and H.R. 1716, and we were pleased to see support grow for both bills this week.