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Letter Opposing Sections of House Resolution 5

January 3, 2017

U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.   20515

Dear Representative:

I am writing on behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to oppose Subsection (o) of Section 3 and Subsection (b) of Section 2 of House Resolution 5, a resolution adopting rules for the House of Representatives for the 115th Congress.

This resolution creates a point of order against legislation to reallocate funds from the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund unless it is accompanied by benefit cuts or tax increases that improve the solvency of the combined trust funds. The Disability Trust Fund will run short of revenue to pay full benefits some time in 2023, potentially putting 11 million disability beneficiaries at risk. This provision would make it more difficult to simply rebalance the two funds as has been successfully done 12 times in the past (reallocations have been made in each direction between the two funds) – forcing benefit cuts or tax increases to the Social Security program.

It is hard to believe that there is any purpose to maintaining this unprecedented change to House rules other than to cut benefits for Americans who have worked hard all their lives, paid into Social Security, and rely on their Social Security benefits, including Disability Insurance, in order to survive. Reaffirming this 114th Congress rule has to be regarded as another sad chapter in the House of Representatives’ long history of ensuring that Social Security can continue to meet the needs of the American people.

In addition, I am deeply troubled by the rule in Subsection (b) of Section 2 that requires each standing committee to include in their oversight plans recommendations for moving programs from mandatory to discretionary funding, which would begin the process of dismantling the guaranteed funding mechanisms for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and exposing these programs to the uncertainties of the annual appropriations process.

The National Committee is strongly opposed to these rules changes and the social insurance safety net benefit cuts that would be much more likely to occur as a result.

Sincerely,

Max Richtman

President and CEO

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