Excepts from the November 18, 2011 edition
Super Committee Negotiations Go Down to the Wire
Just five days before the deadline for a deficit reduction deal, the Super Committee dealing with the nation’s budget deficit in Congress still did not seem close to reaching an agreement on tax reforms and spending cuts. According to CNN, 72 conservative House Republicans made public their opposition to any Super Committee agreement that includes tax increases. Such a large voting bloc in the Republican majority means Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would need support from Democrats to get a deal that contains tax increases to pass the House. Democrats said they would not accept Republican demands to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, lower cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries, and permanently reduce all income tax rates. The special joint congressional committee has until November 23 to come up with a plan. A majority of the panel's 12 members, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, need to agree on savings of at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. If they reach a deal, then Congress will have until December 23 to vote on it without amending it. A failure to pass any agreement would result in $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts starting in 2013, evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending.
Brown-Mikulski-Merkley Bill Would Help Seniors by Changing Social Security COLA
On Wednesday, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced S. 1876, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act. It is a bill to change the Social Security COLA to what is called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) formula. "Retirees spend more of their financial resources on health care and housing than the general population. Because health care inflation rates, in particular, have been much higher than general inflation during the past twenty years, the current formula used to calculate the Social Security annual COLA does not accurately reflect the everyday costs that seniors face. This legislation would be a financial help to seniors by addressing the existing disparity in calculating the COLA formula," said David Friesner, President of the Ohio Alliance and a constituent of Sen. Brown. The bill comes at a crucial time, given news stories about the Super Committee’s possible plans to adjust the COLA downward, and is a counterweight to those frightening reports.
Alliance Activists Take to the Streets, Community
As the Super Committee nears its deadline, Alliance activists this week made their voices heard all across the country. At events ranging from protests and rallies in California, Arizona and Texas to Social Security and Medicare forums in Iowa, Florida, and New York, to a state convention in West Virginia, Alliance members educated their local community on issues facing current and future retirees. Watch the Arizona Alliance on the TV news in Phoenix at http://bit.ly/syghWL. "From city sidewalks to senior centers in small towns, Alliance members are out there every single week, fighting for social and economic justice," said Ruben Burks, the Alliance’s Secretary-Treasurer.
Regional Meetings Begin in February
Be sure to hold the following dates for the Alliance’s 2012 Regional Meetings:
• Western Regional: February 29 – March 2, 2012 - Las Vegas, Nevada - Bally’s Hotel
• Midwest Regional: March 5-8, 2012 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Hilton Hotel Milwaukee
• Southern Regional: April 29 – May 1, 2012 - Orlando, Florida – Buena Vista Palace Hotel
• Northeastern Regional: May 14-16, 2012 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Sheraton City Center Hotel