Legislative Update for Week Ending May 8, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending May 8, 2015

This week, lawmakers in the Senate voted in favor of the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution, and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw support grow for two key bills.

Budget Resolution Approved by Senate

Early this week, lawmakers in the Senate voted along party lines in favor of the fiscal 2016 conference budget resolution, which conferees from both chambers released last Wednesday, and the House approved last Thursday.

As was mentioned in last week’s update, the blueprint outlines more than $5 trillion in spending cuts and if it is fully implemented, it will balance the budget within a decade. It calls for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and more than $400 billion in Medicare savings.

Since the blueprint is a budget resolution and not a bill, it does not require the signature of President Obama, and separate legislation to enact the major changes will be required. As lawmakers begin work on those measures in the coming months, TSCL’s legislative team will be busy voicing its concerns about legislation that would make harsh cuts to the Medicare program.

Members of Congress recently passed a $200 billion Medicare reform package less than one month ago that will require millions of seniors to pay substantially more for their health care. TSCL does not believe any additional reforms that would negatively impact beneficiaries should be made in the near future.

For updates on the status of the budget negotiations, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or our new page on Facebook.

Two Key Bills Gain Support

This week, two new cosponsors – Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 973). The total is now up to ninety-nine.

If signed into law, H.R. 973 would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) – two federal provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, firefighters, peace officers, and other state or local government employees each year.

In addition, one new cosponsor – Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) – signed on to the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 1391), bringing the total up to sixty.

H.R. 1391, if signed into law, would reform the Social Security program in a number of ways while extending its solvency through the year 2100. It would increase benefits by 2 percent, cut taxes for over 11 million seniors, increase the minimum benefit to 125 percent of the poverty line, and make cost-of-living adjustments more fair and accurate.

TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 973 and H.R. 1391 since both of them would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security that seniors have earned and deserve. We were pleased to see support grow for both bills this week.