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New Hampshire AFL-CIO Releases List of Endorsed Candidates

NH AFL-CIO Logo

Hookett – The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is proud to release its list of endorsed candidates for the upcoming General Election on November 8th, 2016. At the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Legislative Conference on Saturday, September 17, the delegates from the New Hampshire AFL-CIO affiliates voted to endorse candidates for Governor, New Hampshire State Senate, and the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO has endorsed candidates that we believe will be champions for New Hampshire working families and will continue to move New Hampshire forward! 

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is proud to announce its endorsement of Colin Van Ostern in his Gubernatorial race, and the following candidates for New Hampshire State Senate. A full list of endorsed candidates running for the New Hampshire House of Representatives can be found on our website, by clicking here.

New Hampshire Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Colin Van Ostern, released the following statement after his recent endorsement by the New Hampshire AFL-CIO in his Gubernatorial race.

“I am proud to stand with the hardworking members of New Hampshire’s AFL-CIO,” said Democratic nominee, Colin Van Ostern. “Our next Governor must ensure New Hampshire’s economy works for everyone, not just those at the top and we’ll do that by safeguarding the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection plan, which has insured over 50,000 Granite Staters, investing in public education, raising New Hampshire’s lowest in the nation minimum wage and standing against the so-called ‘right to work’ legislation my opponent favors that strips hardworking people of their right to collectively bargain altogether. It’s critical that we work together to build on the progess we’ve made and move our state forward, not backward.”

The following candidates running for New Hampshire State Senate have been endorsed by New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Senate District 1: Senator Jeff Woodburn (D)

Senate District 2: Charlie Chandler (D)

Senate District 3: John White (D)

Senate District 4: Senator David Watters (D)

Senate District 5: Martha Hennessey (D)

Senate District 6: Joe Casey (D)

Senate District 7: Senator Andrew Hosmer (D)

Senate District 8: John Garvey (D)

Senate District 9: Lee Nyquist (D)

Senate District 10: Jay Kahn (D)

Senate District 12: Former State Senator Peggy Gilmour (D)

Senate District 13: Senator Bette Lasky (D)

Senate District 14: Tammy Siekmann (D)

Senate District 15: Senator Dan Feltes (D)

Senate District 16: Scott McGilvary (D)

Senate District 17: Nancy Fraher (D)

Senate District 18: Senator Donna Soucy (D)

Senate District 19: Kristi St. Laurent (D)

Senate District 20: Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D)

Senate District 21: Senator Martha Fuller-Clark (D)

Senate District 23: Alexis Simpson (D)

Senate District 24: Tom Sherman (D)

The NH AFL-CIO Endorses Rep Annie Kuster In New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District

Annie Kuster

Today, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO announced their endorsement of Congresswoman Annie Kuster in her reelection campaign for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett, released the following statement:

“I am proud to announce our organization’s endorsement of Congresswoman Annie Kuster in her reelection campaign for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. Lots of politicians say that they are a friend to organized labor. Annie is a true and steadfast friend to labor, and New Hampshire working families. Congresswoman Kuster has stood with us in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which, if enacted, wouldn’t just hurt Granite Staters, but workers across the county. She led efforts in Congress to increase the minimum wage because she knows that every American who works full-time should be paid fairly. She knows, like we do, that working families deserve a long-overdue raise. 

The Congresswoman has a proven record of working across the aisle to foster job growth and provide opportunities to union families. Annie is the only candidate who is running in the 2nd Congressional District who knows what needs to be done to ensure that New Hampshire provides opportunities for our children. She is without a doubt, the best choice for the working people of the 2nd District.”

After receiving the endorsement from the NH AFL-CIO, Congresswoman Kuster released the following statement:

“The men and women of the NH AFL-CIO fight every day to improve the lives of working families, and I am proud to stand with them to improve working conditions, raise wages, and protect the job security of thousands of Granite Staters.  I am honored to have their support and look forward to working with them in the weeks, months, and years ahead to move New Hampshire forward.” 

Congresswoman Kuster has also been a strong advocate for working people in New Hampshire and launched her Working Families Agenda. Kuster’s new Working Families Agenda includes initiatives to address pay equity, family leave time, and access to affordable child care and health care, among other issues.  Congresswoman Kuster held multiple round table discussions throughout the state to hear their concerns and directly address their issues. 

As part of her Working Families Agenda, Kuster has cosponsored a number of bills to reduce the strain on working families, including the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and the CARE Act, which allows more families to benefit fully from a valuable child tax credit and afford child and dependent care.

Clinton-Kaine is an Excellent Fit for Retirees

Ticket is Ultimate Antidote to Worries that Trump-Pence would cut Social Security, Medicare

Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, released the following statement regarding Hillary Clinton’s selection of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential nominee:
Alliance For Retired Americans

“Senator Tim Kaine is a superb choice to be Vice President. The Alliance for Retired Americans was already energized about a Hillary Clinton presidency, and Senator Kaine is the icing on the cake. His 93% lifetime score from the Alliance for his pro-retiree votes is proof that he is the right person for the job.

“Secretary Clinton has been a champion for retirees throughout her distinguished career, and Senator Kaine has been throughout his. As a Governor and as a Senator, he has always had retirees’ best interests in mind. He has stated plainly that ‘we shouldn’t embrace radical reforms like the Ryan Plan or the privatization of Social Security,’ and that is music to our ears. Senator Kaine clearly opposes efforts to cut, privatize or shift Medicare costs to retirees.

“If you go down the list of what retirees want the most, Tim Kaine checks all the boxes. He has pledged to protect Social Security. Like Secretary Clinton, he would rein in prescription drug costs by allowing the Medicare program to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for better prices, just as the Department of Veterans Affairs does.

“His life’s work exemplifies the Alliance’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all Americans. He will protect our traditional pension plans from attack.

“On the other hand, Donald Trump’s choice of Governor Mike Pence as his running mate locked in place a team that endangers the things that retirees care about the most: the protection and expansion of their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits. The contrast could not be starker. We are confident that the Clinton-Kaine team will give us the retirement security we need.

“The Alliance’s 4.4 million members and 1600 chapters will do all they can before Election Day to educate seniors on the differences between the Trump-Pence plans for seniors and the Clinton-Kaine plans. We look forward to working with a Clinton-Kaine Administration to expand our earned Social Security benefits.”

NH AFL-CIO President Brackett Praise Friedrichs Decision And Calls On Senator Ayotte To #DoYourJob

Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold four decades of precedent that have protected our public employees:

NH AFL-CIO Logo “The Supreme Court handed working men and women a major victory yesterday,” said Brackett. “Here in New Hampshire, this ruling protects more than 80,000 public employees. The Court’s decision represents a significant blow to the wealthy special interest that seek to control our democracy and undermine the rights of working families in the Granite State. Workers in New Hampshire and across America should take notice of the fact that the same wealthy corporate interests that helped fuel the attacks on workers in Friedrichs are also trying to prevent President Obama from fulfilling his Constitutional duty to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. That is why I am calling on Senator Ayotte to do her job, and demand a full public hearing and an up or down vote in the Senate on Judge Garland’s nomination.”

The plaintiffs in the Friedrichs case sought to destroy public sector unions by forcing them to give free services, such as contract negotiation, to public employees who choose not to join a union. Yesterday’s decision upheld decades of precedent, established in the 1977 case of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, that prevents free-riding by non-union public employees who benefit from union bargaining efforts. This decision does not in any way alter the requirement that all contributions to political action committees or union political activities must be made voluntarily.  

Yesterday’s decision should make it very clear how important the Supreme Court is to our democracy. We have an obligation to let our Senators, in every state, know that we will not stand for political games when it comes to the Supreme Court. Senator Ayotte should allow President Obama’s nominee to have a timely and fair hearing. The Granite State elected Senator Ayotte to represent our best interests, and it would be in her best interest, to listen to her constituents, and do her job. 

NH Alliance For Retired Americans To Tell Senator Ayotte To Vote No On TPP

Join us on the sidewalk in front of Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Manchester office to tell our NH Congressional Delegation and President Obama to vote NO on the TransPacific Partnership.

Trans-Pacific PartnershipPlease join us at Kelly Ayotte’s Office, 1200 Elm Street, Manchester, NH, Tuesday, January 12th at 12:30 PM 

President Obama is expected to push the TPP in his State of the Union address next Tuesday evening. Help us get a message to him and to our Congressional delegation that TPP is BAD for SENIORS, for the CLIMATE and for the WORKERS!  

BAD for SENIORS:  The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will raise drug prices for all Americans, including seniors. It will block patent reform and jeopardize the U.S. government’s ability to negotiate lower prices for drugs. 

More Information Here

BAD for CLIMATE:  Our Alliance has resolved to work for climate justice but the TPP will leave us subject to further rapid decline in our environment as regulations are left to the discretion of non-elected tribunal regulators. 

BAD for WORKERS:  NAFTA promised 200,000 new jobs. The truth is almost 700,000 jobs were lost. The truth is New Hampshire lost 26,192 manufacturing jobs (or 28.2 percent) during the NAFTA-WTO period (1994-2015), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Hampshire residents cannot afford another bad trade deal. TPP negotiations were held in secret. Congress tried to keep TPP out of the news. 

Don’t be silent. 

Tell our Senators and President Obama 

NO TPP!!!!

We will have signs or bring your own!

     

New Hampshire Issue Advocacy Groups Join Forces, Rally Ahead of Democratic Presidential Debate

Rally and Downtown March Called on Democratic Candidates to Articulate Vision for a Clean Energy Future, Invest in Economic Security for Families and Small Businesses, and Put Voters Ahead of Special Interests

2015-12-19 march 1MANCHESTER, NH – Today, more than 20 issue advocacy groups gathered in Manchester to share a collective vision for a better future in advance of the New Hampshire Democratic Primary Debate.  The march and rally, titled “The Future We Want,” made its way down Elm Street in a show of unity. The march began at the Radisson Hotel, where leaders from across the region discussed how the activist community is coming together to demand action on the issues that matter to New Hampshire and the nation.

“There are so many great organizations doing important work in the state,” said Mike Padmore, State Director for NextGen Climate New Hampshire. “Every group here is working together for justice and progress, by protecting our planet, restoring democracy through campaign finance reform, supporting reproductive rights, investing in economic security for working families and defending the refugees seeking safety and a better life.”

Close to 200 people attended the event. Participants discussed how their work supports a unified vision to move our state and country forward and the importance of working together to ensure a fairer and more just future for all Americans. New Hampshire has a long tradition of using its First-in-the-Nation Primary status to vet candidates on the issues that matter most to Americans and for months Granite State “bird dogs” – issue advocates that follow the candidates and pin them down on the tough questions – have worked the Democratic Primary field. Rally speakers pointed to tonight’s Democratic Primary Debate, happening just two miles away at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, calling it an opportunity for candidates to be champions of justice and progress.

“In New Hampshire, we have a unique opportunity to be in the spotlight of the national conversation in the months leading up to the First in the Nation primary” said Will Hopkins, Executive Director of New Hampshire Peace Action. “With that opportunity comes an important responsibility to engage with the candidates and articulate a vision for the future that demands strong leadership on the issues that matter to Granite Staters.”

The participating organizations from today’s rally and march will continue to work together to articulate and demonstrate a fair, just, and progressive vision for America during the Presidential Primary.

2015-12-19 march 2

 

NextGen Climate NH is a non-profit, non-partisan dedicated to averting climate disaster and promoting prosperity for all Americans. NextGen is calling on our elected leaders to get America to 50% renewable energy by 2030.

350 Action is pushing presidential candidates during the New Hampshire Primary to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It empowers New Hampshire residents to use creative direct action and bird dogging to influence our leaders.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our operational mission is to promote the American Way and defend it from attack, to build and nurture communities of support for our values, and to equip those communities to promote progressive policies, elect progressive candidates, and hold public officials accountable.

Moms Clean Air Force is a community of parents working together to combat air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate – to protect our children’s health.

The American Friends Service Committee’s “Governing Under the Influence” project is a non-partisan, educational effort to raise awareness about the excessive power held by the ultra-wealthy and major corporations, especially those that profit from militarism and incarceration.  To date the project has trained more than 1000 NH people to be effective “bird dogs,” brought its giant GUI banners to dozens of political events, sponsored educational programs with hundreds of participants, and engaged all major presidential candidates in substantive discussions about nuclear weapons spending, the immigrant detention mandate, the influence of the military industrial complex, and other issues.

The cross-partisan NH Rebellion has mobilized thousands of citizen rebels to #FightBigMoney in politics by walking the talk for democracy all across the Granite State – 30,000 miles and counting. #NHRebellion educates candidates and voters on how our democracy could be fixed through its We the People pledge,  including overturning Citizens United, ending the Legislator to Lobbyist revolving door, requiring donation transparency, and other reforms. #NHRebellion is part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan organization founded by legendary reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is a strong statewide voice for all working people, bringing together the unions of New Hampshire under one banner to fight for economic and social justice in our workplaces and communities.

Rights and Democracy is bringing people together to take action to build healthy communities and make the values of our communities guide the policies of our government. Together, we create change through grassroots organizing, educating and mobilizing around the issues that affect our communities, recruiting and training candidates to run for office, and working through the political and electoral process to advance progressive policies that lead to happy, healthy, and just communities for everyone.

New Hampshire Sierra Club represents over 15,000 Members and Supporters who care about the environment and the future of the Granite State. NHSC supports pollution-free clean energy future that can benefit the local economy and create jobs, like energy efficiency, wind and solar energy. Our goal is to have a zero carbon polluting economy by the year 2050.

The members of New Hampshire Peace Action are dedicated to making a contribution to world peace. We envision a world in which nuclear disarmament, mutual security, global understanding, international cooperation and respect for human rights create social, economic, and environmental benefits for all humanity.

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. Follow us on Twitter.

After nearly 40 years NH Citizens Alliance continues to lead the movement for social and economic justice in the Granite State. We focus on creating a more engaged electorate through issue education, leadership development and voter engagement and mobilization. Central to our work is a women’s economic justice framework. We must take action now to ensure that women have equal rights and receive fair treatment on the job, in health care and in the new economy.

Better Future Project works to build powerful grassroots movements to address the climate crisis and advance a rapid and responsible transition beyond fossil fuels in Massachusetts and beyond.

350 Massachusetts for a Better Future is building a powerful statewide social movement to confront the climate crisis, hold our politicians accountable and undermine the destructive influence of the fossil fuel industry.

 The UNH Peace and Justice League is a social justice advocacy group.  We have worked on issues ranging from the student debt crisis at UNH to the nationwide issue of money in politics.

Divest UNH is pressuring the University of New Hampshire to divest their endowment from fossil fuels.  No one, especially universities, should be profiting of the devastating effects of climate change.  Our goal is not just to push the University of New Hampshire to divest but to create a long lasting student movement to fight for climate justice.

At the Organic Garden Club we manage an organic farm on campus.  Our goal is to provide a place for students to learn how to garden and to educate our community on where their food comes from.

The UNH Student Environmental Action Coalition is a collaborative of sustainability initiatives and committees seeking to promote a better environment and a stronger community

350NH is a climate movement of neighbors. We work as a community to turn off new fossil fuel infrastructure and turn on New Hampshire’s potential for a renewable energy future.

NH AFL-CIO Praises DNC & NHDP’s Decision To Pull WMUR Sponsorship

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett’s statement on DNC & NHDP’s decision to remove WMUR as a co-sponsor of the December 19th Democratic Debate in Manchester:

NH AFL-CIO LogoHooksett – Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO issued the following statement in support of the Democratic National Committee and the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s decision to remove WMUR as a sponsor of the December 19th Democratic Debate due to WMUR’s refusal to negotiate in good faith with their workers. 

“I am proud of our brothers and sisters of IBEW 1228 for standing up for their rights as WMUR workers. I am grateful to the DNC, New Hampshire Democratic Party, and the Presidential candidates for their decision to stand with New Hampshire workers and hold Hearst Corp. accountable for their refusal to negotiate in good faith with their employees.

I would like to thank DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz and NHDP chair Ray Buckley for their support throughout this endeavor.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO would also like to thank Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley for the statement he released yesterday calling on WMUR to be removed as a sponsor of this debate. 

Although we regret the Hearst Corporation’s repeated unwillingness to move contract negotiations forward with their employees, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO and its fellow brothers and sisters in organized labor, look forward to the upcoming debate and the opportunity to see three great candidates make their case to New Hampshire, and working men and women across the country.”

At Raising Wages Summit The “Voices Of Workers” Highlight The Struggles Of Working Families

The first ever New Hampshire Raising Wages Summit was held in Concord on Saturday. The summit, a policy discussion with a focus on the importance of raising wages, drew more than 200 people to hear a whole host of speakers.

The headliners, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, both spoke about raising the minimum wage and the affects of the proposed TPP on workers.

Interlaced between the headliners was what organizers referred to as the “Voices of Workers.” The Voices of Workers were short speeches from local workers and union activists.

Deb Howes, a Nashua teacher and American Federation of Teachers member, talked about the impact of our current low-wage employment system on the children in her classroom. She explained how living in poverty affects a child’s ability to learn, and chastised politicians who want to take away free lunch programs that ensure that children can get at least one healthy meal a day.

Howes is also the chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition that is currently building momentum against the proposed privatization of AFSCME custodians in the Nashua School District. At the summit Howes stated, “eliminating good paying jobs for low-wage contractors will only hurt our community.”

(video link)

The elimination of good paying jobs was the forefront of the Fairness at FairPoint campaign as International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communication Workers of America (CWA) members spent months on strike last winter.

James Lemay, an IBEW member and FairPoint employee spoke about how hard it was for workers during the strike. He talked about how the company did not seem to care about the workers or bargaining in good faith with the union, they only cared their stock prices and earnings statements.

After months on strike the IBEW and CWA reached an agreement with FairPoint and workers could finally go back to work.

(video link)

Janice Kelble, a retired postal worker and American Postal Workers Union member, talk about her struggles bouncing from job to job and the discrimination she endured as a low-wage worker.   Even though it has been a number of years since Kelble was living on minimum wage, the fact is that her story could have been told by any low-wage work struggling to survive on today’s poverty wages.

Kelble eventually got a job with the USPS service where she immediately joined the union, became a steward and began her unofficial career as an advocate for workers.

Kelble said she often wonders how different her life would have been if not for her good paying union job.

(video link)

As Kelble pointed out it has been many years since she had to survive on minimum wage, that is not the case for recent Manchester high school graduate Adol Mashut.

As an immigrant, a woman, and a recent graduate she has quickly learned how hard it is to live on minimum wage. Mashut struggles to balance her work and college classes in hopes to get a degree that will allow her to get a better paying job in the future.

Mashut is also the product of an amazing community outreach program called the Granite State Organizing Project. GSOP is a faith based, non-profit that helps immigrants and low-income families through mentoring and assistance. GSOP continues to push for policies that help working families like raising the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable healthcare and opposes policies like “title loans” that charge people upwards of 400% for an emergency loan.

 

(video link)

Mashut is working and taking classes in the hopes of acquiring a college degree, but college is not for everyone. Thanks to unions there is still a way for workers to learn a valuable skill and work their way into the middle class.

Samantha Novotny is starting her second year as an apprentice with the IBEW local 490 in Concord. “The union provides great classroom training as well as on-the-job training and work experience,” she said.

As she progresses in her apprentice training she will continue to gain more certifications and real world experience which will ultimately result in higher pay and the chance to start saving for her retirement.

Novotny recently became “sworn in” as an official member of the IBEW. “I truly feel that I am setting myself up for a long-lasting and successful career,” said Novotny.

(video link)

 

While many of these Voices of Workers’ stories were positive, the reality of low-wage workers is not as bright and shiny. Many are living paycheck to paycheck working 50 to 60 hours a week between multiple jobs with little to no hope for the future.

Millions of people across the country are living in poverty due to the fact that we have failed to ensure that their hard work will actually pay the bills.

As the 2016 elections continue to ramp up, we need to ensure that every candidate, from Presidential to State Representative to Mayoral will work to raise the minimum wage and help lift these workers out of poverty.


 

Please read our other stories about the Raising Wages Summit

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Addresses the NH Raising Wages Summit

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Inspires The Crowd At The NH Raising Wages Summit

Governor Hassan Will Continue To Fight To Raise Wages and Expand Middle Class Opportunity

How Raising Wages Effects Seniors and Social Security, a speech by NH Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards.


 

 

How Raising Wages Effects Seniors And Social Security

Lucy EdwardsLucy Edwards, President of the NH Alliance For Retired American talks about the importance of raising wages for seniors.

A few of the moronic people running for President of the United States, think they will get elected by attacking seniors.

Jeb Bush wants to “phase out Medicare.” Chris Christie and Marco Rubio want to “raise the retirement age” and reduce benefits to those who are collecting a retirement from their former employer.

This would all be good if the system was overstuffed with wealthy seniors who are lapping it up with their luxurious Social Security checks.

The fact is that the average Social Security payout in New Hampshire is $15,739 a year. This is literally on the verge of poverty. There are too many examples of seniors who have been force to sell their lifelong home because they can no longer afford it on Social Security.

Senator Bernie Sanders has been advocating expanding Social Security to help ensure that seniors do not slip into poverty. He also wants to lift the cap on the payroll tax.

On Saturday, Lucy Edwards, president of the NH Alliance for Retired Americans, addressed the more than 200 attendees at the Raising Wages Summit, on the benefits of raising the wages for seniors.

Raising the minimum wage has a direct connection to seniors and specifically their Social Security. Social Security benefits are based on the amount of money you made in each qualifying year. This means that if a worker makes more in their early years, which will benefit them in their later years.

There is another benefit to Social Security that comes from increasing the minimum wage, more payroll tax. Social Security is funded by the minuscule payroll tax automatically comes out of your paycheck. By increasing wages, more money will be collected by the Social Security Payroll tax solidifying the solvency of the program for years to come.

Edwards also highlighted one more reason why we need to raise wages for workers and close the income inequality gap is because we will all live longer. That’s right, inequality can be bad for your health.

Part of the reason low-income workers have a shorter life expectancy is because they tend to work in highly physical jobs that take a strain of their bodies, access to healthcare from an early age and continuing that care as an adult.

Edwards is an outspoken advocate for seniors and all working families. She wants everyone to live well and be able to retire with dignity and security.


Below is the full video from the Lucy Edward’s speech at the Raising Wages Summit.

Congress Pushes Budget Deal To Avoid Shutdown, Delays Sequester, And Partially Preserve Social Security

Today the White House and congressional leadership announced a budget agreement that sets government funding levels for two years and extends the nation’s borrowing limit through 2017. The agreement provides the defense and domestic discretionary budgets with equal relief from mandatory spending cuts.

“This budget agreement provides a balanced approach to funding the federal government over the next two years,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “I’m very encouraged that leadership in Congress and the White House were able to find a bipartisan compromise that lifts the debt ceiling and provides much needed relief from across the board budget cuts known as sequestration. More blind budget cutting would be disastrous for New Hampshire families and our state’s economy. It’s my hope that Congress can quickly approve this legislation and avoid any last-minute brinkmanship that could threaten the full faith and credit of the United States.”

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. praised the deal as it relieved workers from the fear of another government shutdown and forced unpaid furloughs. 

“This budget deal is an exceedingly rare example of what can be accomplished when elected leaders put aside their partisan bickering and govern in a responsible way that benefits working families.

The bipartisan budget deal announced by congressional leaders and the White House would suspend sequestration for the next two years and provide much-needed increases in military and domestic spending.

Federal workers have endured $159 billion in cuts under the guise of fiscal restraint, and our members were united in opposing any budget that would target them for additional sacrifice.

The budget also is good news for federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System, who will no longer be facing a 53% increase in their premiums under Medicare Part B.

Federal employees are relieved that they will no longer be facing the threat of another government shutdown or unpaid furloughs. We urge the Congress to repeal the Budget Control Act altogether so that these manufactured crises will no longer occur.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka appeared to be more relieved than joyful over the deal.

“Congressional leaders and the President successfully eluded the traps set by a conservative faction in Congress who have tried to hold our economy hostage to achieve their radical agenda.

The full faith and credit of the United States will be preserved as we pay our bills on time – preventing brinksmanship over the debt until 2017.

Tight budget caps on defense and non-defense spending will be eased, restoring funding for vital programs and stimulating the economy. While it fails to provide Medicare beneficiaries with full relief from higher costs, it reduces a spike in deductibles for everyone and avoids a sharp increase in premiums for many. It ensures that 11 million Americans on Social Security Disability Insurance continue to receive full benefits through 2022. It avoids across-the-board benefit cuts of nearly 20 percent starting in 2016. 

While it does not offer long-term solutions for these problems, it provides relief without yielding to the conservatives’ extreme “entitlement reform” approaches that would have done real harm.

Now that we have again kept our country from going over the edge, we hope lawmakers will work on a raising wages agenda that can bring better lives to working families.”

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans was pleased that Congress avoided massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare and vowed to continue pushing for a more accurate way to calculate the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly. 

“Movement to prevent a default and avert a government shutdown is welcome news for all Americans, but the deal is not perfect.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is relieved that this budget deal would protect millions of seniors from significant increases to their Medicare Part B deductibles while preventing a 20% cut to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in 2016.

The reallocation between the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and SSDI trust funds would prevent a massive cut in benefits for the disabled. The transfer would not impact the long-term solvency of Social Security.

We would have preferred no increase to Medicare Part B premiums; however, limiting the increases of those who are not ‘held harmless’ is a step in the right direction. In early October, Virginia Alliance President Ron Thompson of Ivor, Virginia spoke at a Capitol Hill press conference on how the increase would financially harm him. Over the last two weeks more than 30,000 Alliance members contacted their Members of Congress saying that a 52% premium hike was unfair and unwarranted. Our voices were heard.

While it appears a crisis has been averted, we have not improved retirement security for our nation’s seniors by expanding their earned Social Security benefits. We will continue to fight to make that a reality by urging Congress to implement a more accurate way to calculate cost-of-living adjustments: the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E).”

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