AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, Social Security is the nation's most successful domestic program, reducing poverty among older Americans from 50 percent when it was created in 1935 to 11 percent, currently; as well as providing crucial income to millions of surviving spouses, children and people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, more than two-thirds of older Americans rely on Social Security for at least half their entire income, with nearly a third relying on it for 90 percent or more; and

WHEREAS, Medicare since 1965 has provided affordable quality medical care to nearly all Americans over 65 years of age, and along with Medicaid, its companion legislation, has provided medical care to the indigent; and

WHEREAS, more than 50 million older Americans and people with disabilities rely on Medicare and Medicaid for their health coverage; and

WHEREAS, more than three quarters of the nation's federal budget deficit since 2001 has been the result of tax cuts inordinately benefiting the wealthiest Americans, the cost of two wars, and an unprecedented economic crisis caused by Wall Street excesses; and

WHEREAS, the accumulated surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund is approaching $2.5 trillion and the savings and efficiencies in Medicare and Medicaid likely to result from the new healthcare reform law will not be determined for some time; and

WHEREAS, President Obama, by Executive Order 13531 on Feb. 18, 2010, created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Commission"); and

WHEREAS, the mission of the Commission includes proposing recommendations designed to balance the federal budget, exclusive of interest payments, by 2015; entailing "changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the federal government"; and

WHEREAS, the Commission will report recommendations no later than Dec. 1, 2010; and

WHEREAS, issuance of a final report by the Commission will require the concurrence of not less than 14 of 18 members of the Commission; and

WHEREAS, the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have stated that their respective bodies will vote on Commission recommendations soon after the issuance of a final report; and

WHEREAS, Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have both gone on record in favor of cuts in programs on which children, those with disabilities and older Americans depend; and

WHEREAS, Republican congressional members of the Commission have an average lifetime score of 6.5 percentage on the Alliance for Retired Americans Voting Record:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers call on the Commission, Congress and the president to oppose reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits in order to balance the budget or reduce the deficit, and that any adjustments to these programs strengthen rather than weaken them; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on the Commission to endorse budget-balancing strategies that close corporate tax loopholes and support progressive forms of taxation that require those who benefit most from our prosperity to pay their fair share; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call for the Commission's meetings and sessions to be open to the public, including planning meetings, working meetings and drafting sessions, and that they be telecast via C-Span or streamed on the Internet; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on the Commission to report and publicize the impact their proposals will have on different subgroups of Americans (including, for example, such factors as income, race/ethnicity, gender, region, disability, age) and their impact on investments in such essential assets as jobs, education, energy and infrastructure; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT work to inform its members and the public of this National Commission's creation, mandate and potentially harmful recommendations; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on President Obama and the Congress to strengthen and enhance Social Security and Medicare for the benefit of all workers, retirees and their families, advocate forcefully for these vital programs and fair and progressive tax policies, develop a broad-based grass-roots campaign to encourage members to advocate for such programs and policies directed at the Commission, White House and Congress and urge the AFL-CIO, the Alliance for Retired Americans and their allies to do the same.