Let’s take quick stock of what this lame duck Congressional session has meant for middle-class Americans, especially seniors and their families:
Legislation that reversed 40 years of federal law protecting retirees’ pensions was tucked quietly into the massive spending bill. The change will allow benefit cuts for up to 10 million workers; many of them part of a shrinking middle-class workforce in businesses such as construction and trucking.
2. $42 billion in largely corporate tax breaks was passed without the “pay-fors” demanded by Congress for virtually every other spending provision. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if Congress keeps passing short-terms extensions every year or two, the tax breaks will cost $700 billion over the coming decade. As Citizens for Tax Justice so aptly put it: “If our government has $700 billion to spare, it should be devoted to paying for things we really need, not wasted on corporate tax givea ...
Tucked into the massive spending bill Congress passed this weekend was legislation that reversed 40 years of federal law protecting retirees’ pensions. The change will allow benefit cuts for up to 10 million workers, many of them part of a shrinking middle-class workforce in businesses such as construction and trucking. There wasn’t a single Congressional hearing on the plan before it was slipped into the spending bill, outraging senior’s advocates...including NCPSSM.
“Allowing plans to break the fundamental ERISA promise - that pensions paid to retirees and their surviving spouses will not be reduced - represents an extreme response to a problem that can be addressed through other means by strengthening the funding of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Additionally, the National Committee is deeply concerned that this provision could set a dangerous precedent for other defined benefit programs, such as single employer plans, public sector plans and Social Security ...
NCPSSM Board Chair, Catherine Dodd, testified before the Senate Finance Committee today on the retirement challenges facing America's women and the National Committee's Eleanor's Hope initiative to improve Social Security benefits:
“22 million older women receive Social Security benefits yet the inequalities they face threaten their retirement security. Persistent gender wage discrimination, work gaps taken to care for loved ones, the lack of pensions and generally longer lives mean women receive a significantly lower Social Security benefit than men. While the Social Security system is gender-neutral, life is not and America’s senior women pay the price for that inequality for as long as they live. We urge Congress to level the playing field for millions of our nation’s older women.” Catherine Dodd, PhD, RN and NCPSSM Board Chair
Members of the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony from witnesses today in a hearing entitled, “Social Security: Is a Key Foundatio ...
Virtually the first order of business for Congress after November’s Congressional election was to pass $42 billion in tax breaks going largely to corporations. The House has already approved these giveaways (without providing the “pay fors” they’ve demanded for bills to help average Americans like unemployment extensions or even disaster relief) and the Senate is expected to follow suit this week. Incredibly, it could have been much worse as the House originally wanted ten times more in corporate giveaways. A veto threat from President Obama is all that derailed that plan. Bill Moyers detailed the original package:
“The 10-year, $444 billion package includes a few provisions that were popular with Democrats, but would phase out existing tax credits for clean energy development. Mostly, it’s a boon for some of the top corporate tax-avoiders in America. Some 90 percent of the cuts would benefit their bottom lines. One of the biggest ...
We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels this week!
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