Friday Alerts

News: Friday Alerts

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Alliance Members Visit Over 120 Congressional Offices during Lobby Week

02/20/2015 - Members of the Alliance visited over 120 Members of Congress and staff in their home states this week during the Presidents Day recess.

“Under the new 114th Congress, retirees issues are once again under attack from many directions including proposed trade agreements, Social Security and Medicare,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “I applaud all of the Alliance members who are taking their concerns directly to their Representatives.”

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

President’s Budget Offers a Mixed Bag for Seniors

02/06/2015 -

President Obama presented his Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal on Monday, offering a mixed bag for seniors. The budget contains several changes to Medicare, including higher deductibles, new home health co-pays, and increased means testing. However, the budget also contains several positives, including a reallocation of payroll tax revenue from Social Security’s old-age and survivors trust fund to the disability trust fund.

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price Has Social Security in his Crosshairs

01/16/2015 -

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the new House Budget Committee chairman, hinted to the Heritage Foundation on Monday that he has big plans for Social Security “reform” in the next two years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Talking Points Memo blog. Price mentioned means-testing and increasing the eligibility age as possibilities. He also suggested that privatizing Social Security is a possibility (

“With Chairman Price’s comments this week, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinting at a Grand Bargain last week, there definitely seems to be a House-Senate consensus and a plan to cut Social Security,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Mitch McConnell Raises the Possibility of a Grand Bargain with President Obama

01/12/2015 -

In his first major speech since becoming the new Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) challenged President Obama to work with him, hinting that he is interested in a “Grand Bargain.” McConnell outlined an ambitious plan that includes Social Security and Medicare reforms as well as steps to achieve a balanced budget. The last big effort at a major Social Security, Medicare, budget, and tax reform agreement came during secret talks between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and President Obama in 2011. Boehner stepped away from the effort under pressure from his members after Obama tried to extract additional tax increases. In 2013, the Alliance fought Republican attempts to address the budget deficit by implementing the Chained CPI cut to earned Social Security benefits. More from The Fiscal Times at

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Federal Budget Agreement, Obama Signs it into Law

12/19/2014 - After a day of drama and partisan wrangling, the Senate voted 56-40 on Saturday to send a government funding bill to President Barack Obama for his signature. Obama then signed the bill into law on Tuesday. The $1.1 trillion legislation funds most of the government through September, but sets up a February showdown over funding for the Department of Homeland Security. More at Twenty-one Senate Democrats voted against the bill, while 24 Republicans voted for it, including every member of the Senate GOP leadership. Democratic opponents included several senators rumored to have presidential ambitions such as Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ), Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). A tally of the Senate vote is at

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Sherrod Brown to Introduce Harkin Bill to Expand Social Security in 114th Congress

12/12/2014 -

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has announced plans to reintroduce Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Strengthening Social Security Act in the next Congress. The bill would change the Social Security benefit formula, ensuring that cost of living adjustments adequately reflect the living expenses of retirees, and improve the long term financial condition of the Social Security Trust Fund. The legislation is designed to immediately increase current benefits by about $800 annually. More at

Sen. Harkin, retiring this month, said, “I could not be more pleased that Senator Brown has decided to champion this legislation in the next Congress. Senator Brown’s commitment to Social Security is unrivaled, and seniors should be thrilled to have an ally like Senator Brown on their side.”

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Illinois Pension Reform Law Ruled Unconstitutional

12/05/2014 - A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled before Thanksgiving that an Illinois law aimed at easing the state's unfunded pension liability is unconstitutional, handing a victory to labor unions and state retirees who challenged the law. The law decreases cost-of-living adjustments, caps pensionable salaries and raises retirement ages. It also decreases employee contributions by one percentage point, creates a defined contribution plan for a portion of employees and gives the state retirement systems authority to sue the state to compel it to make required pension contributions.

Judge John Belz ruled that the law, passed Dec. 3, 2013, violates the state's constitutional clause that pension benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired.” In doing so, Belz rejected the state's argument that its ability to invoke its sovereign powers in an emergency trumps protections in the state constitution for pensions. The state is expected to appeal Mr. Belz's decision to the Illinois Supreme Court. More at

“This is great news,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “Those pensions were promised to Illinois retirees, and that promise should be kept, as the law states.”

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Thank Social Security Hero Tom Harkin!

11/21/2014 -

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is retiring after 40 years of dedicated public service, including the championing of policies and legislation benefiting Social Security and Medicare recipients and their families. One of those pieces of legislation was the Strengthening Social Security Act (S.567), designed to immediately increase current benefits by about $800 annually, improve Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) and ensure the program’s future to make retirement more secure for our children and grandchildren, too. To thank Sen. Harkin for his years of service - and pledge to support the Alliance in doing all you can to help secure his legacy with the reintroduction and passage of this important legislation in the 114th United States Congress - go to

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Election Results Heavily Favor Republicans over Democrats

11/07/2014 -

A Republican tide swept over the country Tuesday, giving the GOP full control of Congress. The GOP’s crowning achievement was capturing a majority in the U.S. Senate. Republicans have picked up seven Senate seats and will have at least 52, with Alaska still counting and Louisiana going to a December 6 runoff – a wider margin than most had thought likely just a few weeks ago. House Republicans picked up more than a dozen seats and will likely have roughly 250 House seats for the first time since before the Great Depression, depending on how too-close-to-call races break.

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Don’t Forget: Tuesday is Election Day!

10/31/2014 - Tuesday, November 4 is Election Day, and seniors in every state will be affected by the results. If right-wing extremists take over both houses of Congress, then Social Security and Medicare will be direct targets of the majority in both the House and Senate. And if anti-worker, anti-retiree governors take over state houses, then pensions are at risk, as well.