Progressive Caucus Condemns Proposed Cuts to Social Security

 

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison
Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison

Progressive Caucus Co-Chair

 

Statement to President Obama:

Social Security Benefit Cuts Hurt Our Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 5, 2013

Press Contacts
Adam Sarvana (Grijalva) –

(202) 225-2435

Jeremy Slevin (Ellison) –

(202) 225-4755

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs
Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the
following statement today responding to reports that President Obama will
include chained CPI in his annual budget.

“Republicans have been trying to dismantle Social Security ever since
President Roosevelt proposed it during the Great Depression. We should
not try to bargain for their good will with policies that hurt our
seniors, especially since they’ve been unwilling to reduce tax loopholes
for millionaires and wealthy corporations by so much as a dime.

“One hundred seven Members of the House of Representatives, a majority of
the Democratic Caucus, have already stated our vigorous opposition to
cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. Americans all
over the country depend on every single dollar they get from Social
Security to put food on the table and pay for housing. Using chained CPI
will shift more costs onto already struggling American families, seniors,
veterans – including our 3.2 million disabled veterans who also depend on
the Social Security calculation for their Veterans Affairs benefits –
individuals with disabilities, and children on survivors’ benefits.“This
week, a new study from the New America Foundation finds that proposals to
cut Social Security benefits could be disastrous for our economy because
the recession has led more seniors to rely to Social Security for income.
Cutting benefits now, when people are already struggling to make ends
meet, will mean unnecessary hardship for millions of people. It is
unpopular, unwise and unworkable.”

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7,000 March for Return of Miners’ Health Benefits

patriot+coal+arrestsOver 7,000 March to Demand Return of Stolen Health Benefits
By: Kay Tillow Thursday April 4, 2013 9:43 am

16 arrested in Charleston, WV

Charleston,West Virginia. April 1, 2013. They boarded buses and cars before dawn, some the night before, coming from the coalfields of Illinois,Pennsylvania,Kentucky,Virginia,Ohio,Indiana, and all acrossWest Virginia. By10:00 AM over 7,000 had packed into the giant Charleston Civic Center to voice their support for the 23,000 miners and their families who face the loss of their lifetime health benefits in a bankruptcy scam.

In a series of mergers and deals, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal transferred their contractual health benefit obligations to Patriot Coal. InSt. Louis,Missouri, in March, 2013, Patriot Coal filed in bankruptcy court seeking to terminate the United Mine Workers (UMWA) contract and set up instead a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) for the retirees and families.

Patriot seeks to put only a pittance into the VEBA, vastly underfunding it. UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts has said this plan would “put thousands of retired coal miners, their dependents or their widows on the path to financial ruin, worsening health conditions or even death.”

The UMWA pioneered in healthcare benefits and pensions when they battled coal operators and the American Medical Association to establish the UMWA Health & Welfare Fund. John L. Lewis and the union defied accusations of socialized medicine to set up miners’ clinics and built the miners’ hospitals that serve today as the backbone of health care in Appalachia. The UMWA won early retirement with family coverage for miners who retired before they were 65. These achievements of the miners’ struggles are under attack by Patriot, Peabody, and Arch. Most unions, following the lead of the UMWA, have negotiated early retirement with employers picking up the cost of health care until Medicare kicks in. The attack on UMWA retirees is a snapshot of what employers have in store for union negotiated early retirement plans.

Continue reading 7,000 March for Return of Miners’ Health Benefits