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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Lawmakers rally for Social Security, federal budget

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Thursday, February 15, 2024   

Lawmakers and union leaders are calling on Congress for fiscal changes during the year. Along with conversations about the budget and fair pay, some lawmakers want more attention to Social Security.

The 2023 Social Security Trustee report showed trust-fund reserves could be depleted in 2034, meaning only 80% of benefits would get paid. It will fall to Congress and the White House to resolve it, but some are uncertain how it can occur given split opinions on Social Security.

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., spoke at a rally about how taking action on Social Security speaks volumes.

"What we need is a vote in Congress on Social Security 2100 and not only extend solvency, but enhance benefits for the more than 70 million people," Larson contended.

Social Security 2100 is a bill Larson introduced to put reforms in place such as increasing benefits 2% across the board for all beneficiaries, restoring student benefits up to age 26, and improving the cost-of-living adjustment to reflect inflation. Average monthly amounts for single people are $1,700 per month but average rent prices in Connecticut are around $1,600.

Aside from Social Security, rallying lawmakers were urging their colleagues to pass a full budget next month. Months of negotiations in 2023 led to several continuing resolutions. The current two-tier continuing resolution has part of the federal government run out of funding on March 1, and other parts on March 8.

Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., said now is an inopportune time for a shutdown.

"We can't shut down any part of it at this point," Frost argued. "Not with the House crisis we have right now. Not with our veterans being left out right now. Not with retirees needing what they need right now. "

Lawmakers need to keep certain Fiscal Responsibility Act deadlines in mind. Breaching discretionary spending limits established in the bill could trigger sequestration cuts. In this case, the Office of Management and Budget has said if a budget is not in place by April 30, widespread cuts across certain federal programs will be made.

References:  
State data AARP July 2022

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