Congressman Eliot Engel Reintroduces Guaranteed 3% CoLA Bill, Accepts Seniors Coalition Senior Guardian Medal of Honor Award
Executive Director Sean Ferritor presents Congressman Engel with the Senior Guardian Medal of Honor for his reintroduction of the Guaranteed 3% CoLA Act on Capitol Hill.
Congressman Eliot Engel has heard your voice! H.R. 3588, The Guaranteed 3% CoLA Act of 2015, was officially reintroduced into the 114th Congress on September 22, 2015. Thanks to your constant participation in our program, The Seniors Coalition was invited to take part in the reintroduction process.
“I was honored to walk down to the Capitol with Congressman Engel’s Legislative Assistant to officially reintroduce a bill that our members and supporters have deemed critical to their daily lives,” stated Executive Director Sean Ferritor. “Our members, they are very dedicated and passionate Americans. They have paid into the Social Security Trust Fund for the entirety of their working lives, and now is their time of need,” continued Ferritor. “That’s exactly why we won’t stop fighting for this critical piece of legislation until it’s signed by the President of the United States and becomes the law of the land.”
Congressman Engel accepted the Seniors Coalition’s “Senior Guardian Medal of Honor” award during a hearing on Capitol Hill just days before the Department of Labor’s 2016 CoLA announcement. “Congressman Engel was very concerned that seniors will not be getting a raise at all this year on the benefits they’ve worked a lifetime for and were promised,” continued Ferritor. “I made a personal promise to Congressman Engel that our members and supporters will continue to bombard their Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle to ensure enough cosponsors for a formal vote on the House floor.”
Your voices have been heard! The Seniors Coalition recently met with Congressman Elliot Engel, of New York, to present your signed petitions supporting Congressman Engel’s Guaranteed 3% CoLA bill, H.R. 1585.
“Congressman Engel could not have been more courteous,” states Executive Director Sean Ferritor. “We met to present Congressman Engel with stacks of petitions gathered by Seniors Coalition members, and discussed how we could work together in the upcoming 114th Congress to ensure a vote on the House floor.”
The Seniors Coalition currently has 253,256 signed petitions in favor of H.R. 1585.
Congressman Kevin Brady’s Death Tax Legislation reached the magic number of 218 cosponsors recently and The Seniors Coalition had a big part in the final push. After a recent hearing on ways to curtail fraud in Social Security, held by Chairman Brady’s Subcommittee on Health, Seniors Coalition’s Executive Director Sean Ferritor had the opportunity to briefly discuss the Congressman’s bill H.R. 2429, The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013.
“After the hearing, I wanted to thank the Congressman for his leadership on a myriad of seniors’ issues and when I mentioned to Chairman Brady that The Seniors Coalition has been tracking members that had signed onto his bill in previous Congresses but not the current one, he immediately asked me to get that information to his staff,” states Executive Director Sean Ferritor. “It was really a no brainer, this isn’t an issue you waiver on from Congress to Congress,” Ferritor continued. Congressman Brady’s bill in the last Congress also garnered enough cosponsors
Executive Director Sean Ferritor (at right) listens in as Chairman Johnson and Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin speak briefly after a hearing on Social Security Fraud in New York City.
The Seniors Coalition and Congress were shocked to learn of another, arguably more abhororent case of American's tax dollars being stolen by fraudulent disability claims. The most recent case involves former firefighters, policemen and even a former FBI employee. Sadly these thieves schemed the Social Security Administration (SSA) out of millions of dollars because they claimed their "disability" was caused as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Many had never even worked at Ground Zero.
Yet again, another year goes by and Congress continues to ignore the pressing issue of fixing the flawed Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) formula. Now senior citizens are out a stunning $2,954 that is missing from their average Social Security "base amount." This is unacceptable and The Seniors Coalition will continue to press Congress to fix this issue.
Last year, TSC made progress advancing the conversation about CoLA reform. Unfortunately, bigger issues that affect the entire country, like ObamaCare and the Debt Limit battles, drowned out TSC's efforts. "Last year," explains Executive Director Sean Ferritor, "our progress advancing this issue was stifled and side-lined by these bigger issues in Congress. Every member of Congress I spoke with last year promised to look into and tackle the issue of CoLA reform, but I could tell they were busy and were putting the issue onthe back-burner. This year I will hold them to their word."
United States Congressman Sam Johnson, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, recently held a hearing on Social Security fraud in Puerto Rico. More specifically, the hearing was on a scheme to defraud the Social Security Disability Insurance program out of millions of dollars using an ex-Social Security employee and a couple of rogue doctors.
This past year has been a very productive year for The Seniors Coalition. In addition to expanding our membership and our presence on Capitol Hill, TSC has had an impact on several inside-the-beltway decisions.
The Seniors Coalition was pleased that Congress heeded its advice to include a Cost-of-Living- Adjustment (CoLA) for Social Security beneficiaries in the 2014 budget, even if it was a paltry 1.5% increase. However, Seniors Coalition brass remains dismayed at the fact that Congress still does not realize how important the CoLA is for seniors across the nation. In 2013, TSC worked closely with Congressman Eliot Engel’s staff to garner support for H.R. 1585, The Guaranteed 3% CoLA Act, and continues to work with Congressman Engel in 2014.