AFGE Pushes 3.9% Cost of Living Increase for Federal Retirees

AFGE is urging Congress to pass a bill that would give retirees, including federal retirees, a 3.9% increase in their cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year. The bill, introduced by Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, was in response to the announcement last month from the Social Security Administration that there would be no cost of living adjustment for retirees in 2016.  Nevertheless, the prices of goods and services most seniors must purchase have gone up considerably and a COLA is necessary to maintain buying power. A similar bill was recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  

“AFGE strongly supports a 3.9% COLA for next year, and this bill is what is needed to accomplish that,” said AFGE President J. David Cox, Sr. “Federal retirees, Social Security recipients, and disabled veterans need this increase to maintain their living standards. Corporations that pay their CEOs and other executives exorbitant bonuses won’t miss the write off, and providing these COLAs is the right thing to do,” Cox said. 

“If we do nothing, on January 1st, more than 70 million seniors, veterans, and other Americans won't get an extra dime in much-needed Social Security and other benefits. And while Congress sits on its hands and pretends that there's nothing we can do, taxpayers will keep right on subsidizing billions of dollars' worth of bonuses for highly paid CEOs,” Senator Warren said when introducing her bill in the Senate. “Giving seniors a little help with their Social Security and stitching up corporate tax write-offs isn't just about economics; it's about our values. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act today to give a boost to millions of Americans who have earned it.” 

The Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act would close a tax loophole that allows corporations to write off executive bonuses as business expenses for tax purposes. The savings would be enough to provide an estimated 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and other Social Security beneficiaries with nearly $600 in a one-time benefit.  

Veterans know not to leave anyone behind but without congressional action, that’s exactly what our government will do to them—as well as millions of seniors and people with disabilities—at the end of the year,” said Rep. Duckworth. “I’m proud to work with Senator Warren to ensure seniors and those who have sacrificed for our nation receive the respect and support they deserve.” 


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