Legislative Update for Week Ending September 19, 2014

Legislative Update for Week Ending September 19, 2014

This week, lawmakers in both chambers voted to approve a temporary spending bill to fund the government past September 30th. In addition, The Senior Citizens League’s (TSCL’s) legislative team met with several Members of Congress and their aides, and two key bills gained support.

Lawmakers Approve Temporary Spending Bill

On Wednesday, Members of the House voted to approve a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government past September 30th – the end of the fiscal year. Those in the Senate took it up quickly thereafter and voted for its passage on Thursday afternoon, despite reservations from some key Senators.

Originally, Members of Congress planned to quickly debate and approve the CR last week so that they could turn their focus towards the November 4th elections. However, President Obama made a last-minute request to authorize extra military funding for the training of rebels in Syria, and the discussion grew complicated. After much discussion behind closed doors, leaders in the House and Senate agreed to attach an amendment to the CR to provide the military with the necessary funds to complete the training mission.

TSCL is relieved that Members of Congress came to an agreement this week, since another government shutdown like last year’s would have severely affected Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors. However, lawmakers will need to revisit the spending debate in ten short weeks since the temporary bill expires on December 11th. TSCL will continue to monitor the discussions in the meantime, and we will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website.

TSCL Visits Capitol Hill

This week, TSCL’s legislative team, which is led by former Congressman David Funderburk and Mrs. Betty Funderburk, met with several Members of Congress and their top staff to discuss issues of critical importance to seniors. The following bills, among others, were discussed this week: the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act (H.R. 1030), the CPI for Seniors Act (H.R. 2154), the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795), the Notch Fairness Act (H.R. 155), the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 2745), and the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R. 574).

TSCL would like to thank the following Members of Congress and their aides for taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss issues of critical importance to seniors: Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-1), Rep. Jack Kingston (GA-1), Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11), Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Rep. Steve Stockman (TX-36), Bobby Cornett (Legislative Director for Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-8)), Hill Thomas (Legislative Director for Rep. John Barrow (GA-12)), and Chris Maneval (Legislative Assistant for Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-4)).

Two Bills Gain Support

This week, one new cosponsor – Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) – signed on to the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 2745), bringing the total up to thirty-two. If signed into law, the bill would prevent Social Security credits from being earned by work done illegally. Currently, those who receive work authorization may file a claim for Social Security benefits based on all earnings – even earnings from jobs where they used stolen, invalid, or fraudulent Social Security numbers. To protect the integrity of the Social Security program, TSCL believes this practice must be put to an end.

In addition, one new cosponsor signed on to the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures (PRIME) Act (H.R. 2305). The new cosponsor is Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-7), and the total now sits at sixty-six. If signed into law, the PRIME Act would take a number of steps to comprehensively prevent fraud, waste, and abuse within the two programs – a problem that TSCL believes must be addressed in order to ensure that scarce program dollars are being spent properly.

TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 2745 and H.R. 2305, and we were pleased to see support grow for both of them this week.