Last Update: Thursday, December 05, 2013
|Residents Concerned that Shutdown Has Long Term Impact|
|Written by Alex Garcia Sun Contributing Writer|
|Thursday, 17 October 2013 02:22|
D. Martinez / SFVS
San Fernando residents Victoria Mojica (left) and Ceil Andersen remain concern about the long-term impact the recent federal shutdown could have on Social Security.
Even though Congress finally came to an 11th hour agreement on Wednesday, Oct, 16, to temporarily end the two-week government shutdown, those who had been anxiously watching the push and pull at the nation's capital were still wondering what the future holds.
Seniors, people with disabilities and parents protested the government shutdown by holding a "Die-In" protest Wednesday afternoon in front of Los Angeles federal building. This action, organized by the California Partnership, also held in San Francisco, was held to "call attention to harm done" by the shutdown.
"We're worried about the long-term effects of the shutdown on low-income people who have already been impacted by cuts in the Head Start programs and services for seniors," said California Partnership Los Angeles organizer Astrid Campos.
"There is so much gridlock in D.C., they only end up doing temporary extensions. But there is always sacrifice on program that impact the neediest with cuts in food stamps and other entitlement programs that benefit the poor," Campos said.
Brenda Medina of the American Federation of Teachers, whose members along with college students were protesting the shutdown in front of the Republican Party offices in Burbank last Friday, Oct. 11.
"College students who are veterans are having problems getting their G.I. Bill money to pay for school," she said. "They're having to pay out of their own credit cards. A lot of them are single parents who are on WIC, and they're also having problems with that."
Worried About Effect On Social Security
Ceil Andersen is a San Fernando resident and president of Chapter 20 for the California State Retirees Association, which represents the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita, Pasadena and West Los Angeles. She is very concerned with the potential impact from the federal shutdown and the longterm impact on Social Security, which she believes is incorrectly perceived as an "entitlement" program.
"We worked all of our lives and paid our taxes and paid into Social Security. They've [the government] raided it, and now they want to take it away. That really bothers and concerns me," she said.
"It's our money, and those discussing cutting social security as if we are on the dole," Andersen continued. "They are messing with people's lives. People need Social Security; they depend on that money for their rent, mortgages, and food.
"They are out of control and something has got to be done. President Obama won't budge unless it is completely his way and I'm glad the Republicans are standing their ground," said Andersen, who said she is not a fan of Obamacare.
San Fernando resident Victoria Mojica turns 65 this month and lives in affordable senior housing. Mojica said she was worried that if the shutdown had continued, it would have impacted her veteran survivor benefits. Her husband, who suffered from Agent Orange, passed away.
She said she goes check-tocheck each month.
"I pay for food, rent, my car insurance and there isn't much left. I can't remember when I last went to see a movie. My sister will take me out to eat at a restaurant sometimes, [but] I depend on those benefits to pay my bills," Mojica said.
"I think the legislators are out of control and are playing with people's lives. I don't think that the President or the legislators should be paid until they work out a budget," she added.
(sub) Tentative Deal Reached
On Wednesday, the Senate came to an agreement that would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling limit to Feb. 7, avoiding potential defaults on U.S. debt payments.
"This is a time for reconciliation," said Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of the agreement he had forged with Republican Minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
McConnell said that with the agreement, Republicans had sealed a deal to have spending in one area of the budget decline for two years in a row, adding, "We're not going back."
One prominent tea party lawmaker, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said he would oppose the plan, but not seek to delay its passage.
That was a key concession. It would, in turn, would allow President Barack Obama to sign the bill into law ahead of the Oct. 17 deadline that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had set for action to raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.
Officials said the proposal called for the Treasury to have authority to continue borrowing through Feb. 7, and the government would re-open through Jan. 15.
While the emerging deal could still meet resistance from conservatives in the Republican-controlled House, Democratic Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has signaled she would support the plan and her rank and file was expected to vote for it in overwhelming numbers.
House Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican leadership met in a different part of the Capitol to plan their next move. A spokesman, Michael Steel, said afterward that no decision had been made "about how or when a potential Senate agreement could be voted on in the House."
Without the action by lawmakers, the Treasury could not be certain it had the ability to pay bills as they come due, Lew said.
In addition to raising the debt limit, the proposal would give lawmakers a vote to disapprove the increase. Obama would have the right to veto their opposition, ensuring he would prevail.
House and Senate negotiators would be appointed to seek a deficit-reduction deal. At the last minute, Reid and McConnell jettisoned a plan to give federal agencies increased flexibility in coping with the effects of across-the-board cuts. Officials said that would be a topic for the negotiations expected to begin shortly.
Despite initial Republican demands for the defunding of the health care law known as Obamacare, the pending agreement makes only one modest change in the program. It requires individuals and families seeking subsidies to purchase coverage to verify their incomes before qualifying.
There were some dire warnings from the financial world a day after the Fitch credit rating agency said it was reviewing its AAA rating on U.S. government debt for possible downgrade.
|Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 15:09|