Below is the Press Release that the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans set to all Washington state media outlets today regarding the impacts of the sequester.
Senators Murray and Cantwell Stand Up for Fairness
Today, the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts, the “sequester,” took effect and soon our community will feel the impact on education, health care, public safety and other critical programs and services. Congress had time act to avert these cuts that impact our country, including seniors who depend on Meals on Wheels, transportation services and the Social Security Administration to administer their Social Security benefits.
While key programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, are untouched by the sequester, these automatic budget cuts do affect other critical services and programs that impact the retiree community.
While Social Security benefits are exempted from sequestration, the Social Security Administration (SSA), which administers the benefits, is not. Cuts to the SSA budget will make it more difficult to pay benefits accurately and for mistakes to be promptly corrected. Two years of budget cuts and hiring freezes have already affected Social Security’s ability to handle dramatic workload increases, and the additional cuts required under sequestration will cause further erosion. Office hours nationwide have been slashed by 23 percent; in-person meetings and telephone interviews are significantly delayed.
Although it did not pass, we are heartened and grateful that Senators Murray and Cantwell displayed leadership and voted for the American Family Economic Protection Act yesterday, which would have raised revenue from the richest Americans and corporations who actually got us into this mess by requiring them to pay their fair share in taxes and eliminating tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas. For too long, the wealthiest Americans and corporations have enjoyed loopholes that have hurt our economy.
As we brace for the impact of the sequester, seniors and the Washington Alliance for Retired Americans will keep a close eye on future budget discussions and work to ensure that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not unjustly targeted to balance a budget deficit they did not create. It’s time for our country to balance the budget fairly and raise revenues from those who can afford it, not our seniors who built this country and the families they worked hard to raise.
We can balance our budget without asking the middle class and senior citizens to sacrifice even more for a problem they did not create. We can keep our nation’s promises to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Contact: Leslie Liddle, Field Consultant, 360-701-6615