Political Action

NEA Issues–Social Security Offsets Click Here


CARA Alert – August 31, 2017

A publication of the California Alliance for Retired Americans.


CONGRESSMAN SCOTT PETERS:        858-455-5550/202-225-0508
CONGRESSWOMAN NANCY PELOSI: 415-556-4862/202-225-4965

Congress goes back to work on September 5th after the summer recess – and will be focusing on the 2017-2018 budget, debt ceiling discussions, tax reform, and maybe the ACA?  A lot of the cuts that we have been fighting to our health care programs and to Social Security are imbedded in these other issues, so we must remain diligent.  Keep on calling your Congressmembers to let them know you will not stand for any cuts or privatization of Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

There is also a new attempt to form a bi-partisan commission to fast track cuts to Social Security – HR 3423 – which San Diego Congressman Scott Peters (D) has co-authored.  We must put pressure on Cong. Peters and all of our California Congressional Delegation to vote against this bill, and against any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  We must also urge Congresswoman Pelosi to demand that ALL Democrats should stay away from this bill – there should not be bi-partisan support for cuts to Social Security – EVER.  Call Cong. Peters and Pelosi at their local offices of their Washington offices.  Or you can use this D.C. toll free number: 877-762-8762


The CARA Convention is fast approaching – and it is going to be a great event.  With the focus on building the senior movement so we can take back our country in 2018, we will hear from some key partnering organizations like Our Revolution, Indivisible, California Labor Federation, Working America, and the Alliance for Retired Americans.  Our luncheon Keynote will be Tom Steyer, from NEXTGEN!

We have some great workshops planned to help us be more effective in our organizing efforts and some great entertainment with Rhonda Benin, International singer and entertainer.

We have also invited all of the candidates declared for California Constitutional Offices in 2018 for a Candidate Reception where you will be able to meet the candidates one on one.  And that’s just the first day.

The second day will include an action co-sponsored by the Communication Workers of America to demand that phone land lines be maintained and protected.  You don’t want to miss this convention.

Here are some important details for the Convention:
Early bird registration ends on Sept. 8th.  It is $125 until then, and the rates go up to $150 so register today.  You can register online by clicking here or send your check to the CARA office.

If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, you must call the CARA office and get on our list by September 1st.  Scholarships are given on a first come first served basis, based on funding (raffle ticket sales provide the funding for scholarships, so please keep selling tickets and sending your stubs and checks to the office).

The positions of President and Secretary for CARA will be voted on at this Convention.  Also 8 community-based Vice Presidents will be elected.  You must be a member of CARA in good standing (either as a member of an affiliated organization or an individual member) and you must submit your Intent to Run Form by September 18th.  NO NOMINATIONS WILL BE TAKEN FROM THE FLOOR!

If your organization would like to submit a resolution to be considered by Convention delegates, it must be submitted 30 days prior to the Convention – by August 25th, 2017.  Resolutions can not be longer than one page, and must be submitted on your organizations’ letterhead, including your name, your organization and contact information. Mail resolutions to CARA at 600 Grand Ave. #410, Oakland, CA, 94610

Hotel Reservations:
The Convention is being held at the Hilton Arden West in Sacramento, 2200 Harvard St., in Sacramento.  CARA has reserved a block of rooms for the nights of Sept. 25th, 26th, and 27th.  Room rates are $139 plus tax.  You can call the hotel directly to reserve your room at 800-344-4321 no later than Sept. 8thto get this rate.  Be sure to mention our group code: CAR.

Transportation and Parking:
There are shuttles and taxis from the Sacramento airport to the hotel (about $40).  CARA is arranging to pick up folks at the airport with at least 7 days notice.  Call 510-663-4086 to make arrangements.  Hotel parking is $4/day.  Carpools are available from some areas.  Call 510-663-4086 to sign up.

Help CARA Celebrate our 14th Birthday and Get Ready for 2018.
Click here to register.

CARA Hires New Staff to Get Ready for 2018

Thanks to two generous grants from the Thomas Long Foundation and The California Endowment, CARA is able to hire another FTE equivalent organizer, and make some shifts in our staffing overall. We are so happy to announce that we have hired two great organizers who will be taking over our work in Southern CA (don’t worry – Vishnu is not leaving CARA!).  Jenni Chang will focus on L.A. county and Susan Meyer will focus on Orange and San Diego counties. Together they will cover the rest of Southern CA under the supreme supervision of Vishnu.  As for Vishnu, he will be moving to the Central Valley to take over our work there.  The two new staff will start on Sept. 5th and work with Vishnu for a month. He will be starting in the Central Valley on October 1st.  Please welcome these two new great additions to the CARA team, and please don’t give Vishnu a hard time – you will still see him in the South, the North, and beyond.


You can contact CARA at: 
CARA, 600 Grand Ave. #410, Oakland, CA 94610
NORTH: 510-663-4086 • 510-663-4099 (fax) • jreid.cara@gmail.com
CENTRAL VALLEY: 714-488-5488 • Vishnu.cara@gmail.com
LA COUNTY: 917-424-3220 • jennichang.cara@gmail.com
ORANGE/SAN DIEGO: 714-460-3542 • smeyer.cara@gmail.com
OTHER SOUTHERN CA COUNTIES: 714-488-5488 • Vishnu.cara@gmail.com

TOLLFREE 1-877-223-6107 • www.californiaalliance.org

Copyright © 2017 California Alliance for Retired Americans, All rights reserved.




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This 4th of July, Americans have something truly powerful to celebrate. Social Security expansion has become the official position of the Democratic Party.

And this is entirely thanks to you!

Later this week, the Democratic Party Platform Committee will vote to finalize the 2016 party platform and expanding Social Security tops the list.

This is a huge win for millions of Americans who rely on Social Security each and every day – seniors, veterans, disabled workers, children and surviving spouses whose incomes aren’t keeping up with rising out-of-pocket costs.

So this 4th of July, when you’re speaking with your Paul Ryan-loving cousin at the family BBQ, you have the facts on your side:

– Social Security isn’t going broke;
– It has a $2.8 trillion surplus and growing;
– It can pay out 100% of benefits owed for the next 18 years and at least 75% of benefits owed after that.

And, all we need to do is ask the wealthy to pay their fair share and we can extend the lifespan of the Social Security trust fund and expand benefits for millions of Americans.

On this 4th of July, please donate $4 to Social Security Works to fight for something that is more American than apple pie – expanding Social Security!

Just a few years ago, the accepted wisdom in Washington was that in order to save Social Security, we needed to cut benefits and raise the retirement age. Now, we have President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders and over 90% of Senate Democrats on our side.

You have completely changed the national conversation away from cuts and toward expansion. And with 79% of likely voters – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – on our side, this is a fight we can win.

Please, donate $4 today to celebrate our achievements and to help finish the job.

Let’s tell Washington politicians where the American people stand: Expand, don’t cut Social Security!

Thank you,

Alex Lawson
Social Security Works

p.s., If you can’t donate $4, could you take a moment and vote for Social Security Works at CREDOdonations.com? Your vote could win us $100,000 to fight for Social Security.

H Who We Are
Social Security Works leads the fight every day to expand and protect our Social Security system.
D Social Security Works: The Book
From co-founders Nancy Altman & Eric Kingson, this book makes the powerful case that Social Security isn’t going broke and how expanding it will help us all.

Contact info@socialsecurityworks.org

CARA Alert – June 15, 2016

A publication of the California Alliance for Retired Americans


While the nation’s primaries come to a close, the national debate on how to fix our broken healthcare system continues. Please join the Campaign for a Healthy California, National Nurses United, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, Progressive Democrats of America and Healthcare-NOW! to call on the Democratic Party to include Medicare for All in the official Democratic Platform, which will be voted on at their convention July 25-28.

The United States spends over 2½ times what other industrialized countries spend on healthcare – and while they cover everyone, we still have millions who cannot afford medications or go to the doctor when they need to. We know 58% of all Americans support and 81% of Democrats support Medicare for All.  Those numbers tell us that Medicare for All should be a part of the Democratic Party platform—but it will only happen if we make our voices heard!

Here are 3 steps you can take to get Medicare for All included in the official Democratic Party Platform:

1. Sign our petition to tell the Democratic Party that it’s time to support healthcare for all!

2. Submit your written testimony/story to the Democratic Platform Committee on why they need to include Medicare for All in the official Democratic Platform here.

3. Send your video testimony/story on why we need Medicare for All via Skype to the Democratic Platform Committee here.

Strong collective action is the best way to build a better healthcare system that includes all of us. Please sign our petition today! Thank you for taking the time to make your voice heard!




After months of delay tactics by big PhARMA, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted on the drug take back ordinance yesterday.  Instead of passing the ordinance, the Board voted to monitor Walgreens’ pilot project (where they will do take back in a limited number of their pharmacies) and see how it goes.  The Board of Supervisors will then review this pilot in November and possibly reconsider our original ordinance at this time.  To say we are disappointed with this is an understatement.  First, not everyone gets their prescriptions filled at Walgreens. And even if they did, there is no guarantee that there will be a Walgreens near them.  If the Board of Supervisors thinks this will give us some clear indication of how a larger drug take back program in LA County would work – they are sorely mistaken.  This “compromise” is clearly the workings of PhARMA to undermine a real drug take back effort – which they do not want.  But we will not give up.  We will continue to support drug take back efforts in counties around the state and continue to talk with the LA Supervisors to urge them to move behind this terrible decision. A big thank you to all of the CARA folks who called and met with Supervisors and who attended the many hearings in LA.  Let’s take a deep breath and then continue the fight….. Onward!

A couple articles covering this issue in LA (please note how much lobbying money was spent by big pharma):

L.A. County supervisors roll back plans for a drug take-back program

Critics: LA County supervisors’ delayed vote on drug take-back plan is win for big pharma



CARA will soon celebrate our 13th Anniversary. This year, we are doing something a bit different.  Instead of 3 Regional Conventions (we hold statewide conventions in odd years, and regional conventions in even years), we will be hosting 14 Regional Conventions/Town Hall Meetings. Because 2016 is such an important election year, we want to give CARA members throughout the State an opportunity to attend a local event where you can learn about important election issues, meet the candidates running for key offices, sign up for our Seniors Vote 2016! Project, and of course celebrate our work during the year and set priorities for 2017.  This year we have 15 Regional Conventions/Town Hall Forums planned across the state.  You can register for one (or more if you want) for the town hall event in your area.  Click here to register.  All events are $10 and include continental breakfast, box lunch, and more.  We look forward to seeing you in September at the Town Hall nearest you.

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April 10, 2016

Tell senators to do their job and vote on Supreme Court nominee

Merrick Garland

One-fourth of the GOP caucus—including Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley—have announced that they will meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, currently chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.take action But that’s not enough. Keep the pressure on! The Constitution is clear: It is the duty of the President to nominate Supreme Court justices and the duty of the Senate to provide “advice and consent”—to hold a hearing and take an up-or-down vote. Click on the “take action” button and tell your senators to do their job.

ESSA negotiated rulemaking committee meets again

essa graphicThe committee charged with negotiating regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) met again this week to discuss “supplement, not supplant” funding and student assessments. The “neg reg” committee includes two voting members nominated by NEA: California teacher Ryan Ruelas and Wisconsin paraeducator Lynn Goss.

Much of the discussion thus far has revolved around inclusion of students with disabilities and English-language learners in academic assessments, English language proficiency assessments, and alternative academic standards and assessments for the students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. If the committee does not reach consensus—often the case with negotiated rulemaking—the U.S. Department of Education will go through the usual process: drafting rules, publishing them in the Federal Register, revising them in response to comments, and then issuing the final regulations, which in this case Congress would get to review.

NEA and eight other leading education groups sent a letter this week urging the U.S. Department of Education “to refrain from defining terms and aspects of the new law that Congress gave communities the flexibility to determine.” Remember: to help educators advocate for implementing ESSA effectively, NEA has created a repository of online resources: nea.org/essabegins. Check it out!

House could take up child nutrition legislation this spring

child nutritionReauthorization of child nutrition laws is still on the minds of lawmakers, as evidenced by the Senate Agriculture Committee’s passage of a bill earlier this year. Potential House action this spring could include cuts in community eligibility, an option adopted by more than 18,000 schools across the country that is “a powerful tool that allows school districts to target nutrition benefits to children in high-poverty schools,” according to a new report by the Center take actionon Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). With community eligibility, high-poverty schools provide free meals for all students instead of processing applications from individual students.

Click on the button and tell Congress to take action on NEA’s priorities: preserving the current guidelines for healthy school meals, improving training for school food service professionals, and strengthening programs that provide meals for kids when school is out.

Cheers and Jeers

U.S. Department of the Treasury for issuing a new rule to limit corporate “inversions,” a tactic that is giving corporations tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks for moving their headquarters overseas.
thumbsup President Obama for calling on Congress to take further steps to limit corporate inversions. “While the Treasury Department’s actions will make it more difficult … to exploit this particular corporate inversions loophole, only Congress can close it for good.”
Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) for leading a letter urging the U.S. Department of Education to heed congressional intent for the new Every Student Succeeds Act and allow parents to have their children opt out of federally-mandated standardized tests—the law makes the states, not the Department of Education, responsible for determining what steps to take if a significant number of students opt out.
thumbsdown Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for continuing to ignore more than 100 years of precedent and refusing to give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee even a hearing.
To tell your story: www.EdVotes.org.


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Republicans have wasted little time declaring war on seniors.

The new GOP plan to gut the Affordable Care Act will give massive tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the poor, elderly and sick. It does this by raiding $346 billion from the Medicare trust fund to pay for giveaways to the wealthy, and in turn intentionally weakens Medicare’s finances.

Immediately after Election Day, Paul Ryan “justified” his plan to gut Medicare by saying, “because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke.” Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth. ACA has in fact extended the lifespan of the Medicare Trust Fund. But the GOP’s plan is a self-fulfilling prophecy: Weaken Medicare in order to destroy the program through privatization.

We must stand united! Sign the petition to Congress demanding they reject any Republican “healthcare” plans that destroy Medicaid, weaken Medicare, and enrich the wealthy at the expense of  of the poor, elderly and sick.

The bill removes protections that limit the amounts health insurance companies can charge older Americans. This would be particularly devastating to people in their fifties and early sixties, who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare.

The bill also threatens the financial security of millions of families due to cuts in Medicaid. About 10 million seniors are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid―with Medicaid covering the majority of long-term nursing home costs for low-income seniors. Cuts to Medicaid would deprive millions of seniors of needed nursing home coverage, forcing families to scramble to either make up the difference or provide in-home care instead. The bottom line is that this bill would make insurance more expensive and lower quality for millions of Americansstarting with seniors. 

Sign the petition today rejecting the Republican war on seniors.

Together we must fight any attempt to destroy Medicare and Medicaid―threatening the healthcare and financial security of millions of Americans.

Thank you,

Michael Phelan
Social Security Works

H Who We Are
Social Security Works leads the fight every day to expand and protect our Social Security system.
D Social Security Works: The Book
From co-founders Nancy Altman & Eric Kingson, this book makes the powerful case that Social Security isn’t going broke and how expanding it will help us all.

Contact mailto:info@socialsecurityworks.org?link_id=4&can_id=d01dfd5a94785297c7cabb324fa6c472&source=email-paul-ryans-plan-to-raid-346-billion-from-medicare&email_referrer=paul-ryans-plan-to-raid-346-billion-from-medicare&email_subject=paul-ryans-plan-to-raid-346-billion-from-medicare


This Thursday, millionaires and billionaires will stop paying into Social Security. To shine a spotlight on this unfair policy, Social Security Works is joining with Social Security Champion Bernie Sanders for a national day of action.

Sign the pledge today! Pledge to call your Senators this Thursday, February 16th and tell them that millionaires and billionaires should pay into Social Security at the same rate as the rest of us—and that doing so would allow us to expand benefits. We will send a script and a reminder Thursday.

Right now, the way we fund Social Security―a regressive practice that only applies to the first $127,200 of a wage earner’s income―contributes to wealth and income inequality in the U.S.

A millionaire won’t pay anything into our Social Security system for at least the last ten and a half months of the year. This is because our Social Security system is primarily funded by payroll contributions (or FICA). Once the FICA cap of $127,200 is reached, millionaires and billionaires stop paying into the system, while the vast majority of Americans continue to pay in on all of their salary.

Stand with Senator Bernie Sanders and Social Security Works. Pledge to call your Senators this Thursday and tell them to “scrap the cap” on Social Security payroll contributions and demand the wealthy pay their fair share.

Social Security benefits provide critical financial stability to seniors, children, surviving spouses and veterans. It is outrageous that Republicans―at the behest of their Wall Street backers―continue to call for cuts to Social Security based on a future projected shortfall to the trust fund when all we need is to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share!

Sign the pledge today. Join Social Security Champion Bernie Sanders in calling on Congress to “scrap the cap” and require millionaires and billionaires to pay into Social Security at the same rate as the rest of us.

Thank you,

Michael Phelan
Social Security Works

H Who We Are
Social Security Works leads the fight every day to expand and protect our Social Security system.
D Social Security Works: The Book
From co-founders Nancy Altman & Eric Kingson, this book makes the powerful case that Social Security isn’t going broke and how expanding it will help us all.

Heal California - Better healthcare is within reach
Update on Rally for
Healthy California Act (SB 562)
Support California’s response to the GOP plans to unravel the Affordable Care ……Act. Join Californians from around the state to support and celebrate the… Healthy California Act (SB 562)

What: Rally in support of the Healthy California Act
When: Wednesday, February 22, 11 a.m.
Where: North Side, State Capitol, Sacramento

If you cannot attend the rally, you can still help! Call both your California State Senator and your State Assembly Member on Wednesday and urge them to cosponsor SB 562. Find your representatives here.

California has led the nation in so many things – artificial retinaselectric transportationsustainable agriculturesmart contact lensesemission control devices, to name just a few – that it’s only natural we would be the leader in guaranteeing health care for all our residents. Now is the time for this innovation in American health care. Let’s HEAL California with the Healthy California Act. It’s what we want; it’s what we need.

(photo credit Sarah springer from Labor United for Universal Healthcare)

Donate Facebook Icon Twitter Icon
California OneCare
13547 Ventura Blvd. #233, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-3825
(818)-860-0862 — info@heal-ca.orgClick here to unsubscribe

CARA Alert – February 27, 2017

A publication of the California Alliance for Retired Americans.


CARA’ Presence felt around the State during PRESIDENT’S WEEK Congressional RECESS



During the Week of Feb 17 – 24th, CARA sponsored or participated in dozens of events at key Congressional offices to protest GOP proposals to cut and privatize Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, and Social Security.  Some events drew hundreds like the candlelight vigil at McClintock’s office, the march to Rohrabacher’s office, and the rally in front of Denham’s office.  Other CARA folks held meetings with Congressional staffers like those at LaMalfa’s office, one with Khanna’s staff and a meeting with Feinstein’s staff.  There was an informational picket in front of Issa’s office and congregational flyering after services in Valadao, Nunes and McCarthy’s offices.  This is just a small sampling of the events that took place this past week in California.  Needless to say, they were all AWESOME and proved that people are mad about these proposals and willing to take to the streets and take on their Representatives.  Responses from some of the Congressmembers called us “anarchists”, or “paid agitators”, but this did not deter a single protestor.  The crowds were diverse, unified, and energized – and sent a very clear message to members of Congress – DON’T CUT OUR SOCIAL INSURANCE PROGRAMS!!! CARA will be planning our next steps to keep the heat on.


Thank you to everyone who attended one of the many events around the State.  If you were unable to go to an event – you can check out some of the photos, videos and press from these events on the CARA website at www.californiaalliance.org.


But our work is far from over.  Congress plans to take up some of these GOP proposals in the weeks following this recess.  We must keep the pressure on – so don’t stop calling, writing, emailing and faxing your Congressional representatives.  Here’s how:


Get Loud by Phone, Mail, or Online:  

866-828-4162 (toll free switchboard in D.C.)




On Wednesday, February 22nd, CARA joined Senator Lara and the Campaign for a Healthy CA to celebrate the introduction of the Healthy CA Act that would provide guaranteed health care to every Californian regardless of age, employment status, immigration status, income, ethnicity: EVERYONE IN and NOBODY OUT!  Hundreds of folks rallied to celebrate the introduction of this bill. This legislation comes at a critical time – as Congress attempts to derail and defund the ACA, cut and privatize MediCAL and Medicare, we in California are going to fight to improve health care and finish the job that the ACA began, so that we can be the first state to guarantee health care for everyone – without the insurance companies, while saving money and eliminating deductibles and co-payments.


We have a unique window of opportunity to pass SB 562.  The word must get out quickly!  To that end, the Campaign for a Healthy CA is rolling out Train the Trainer sessions to get leaders trained to spread the GOOD NEWs and get others to engage in the campaign.  The first trainings are happening on March 4th in Glendale, Corte Madera, and San Francisco.  If you would like to become a Trainer – and help train the next batch of leaders, these trainings are for you!  Here are the training locations, times, and numbers to rsvp (you must rsvp to get in as space is limited!):


March 4th SB 562 Train the Trainer Events:

Glendale:   10am – 1pm, CNA, 225 W. Broadway, 5th floor, RSVP to http://bit.ly/2kJlrHy

San Francisco: 9am-12pm, SEIU 1021, 350 Rhode Island, RSVP to http://bit.ly/2kJlrHy

Corte Madera: 1pm – 4pm, Corte Madera Community Center, 498 Tamalpais Dr.

RSVP to http://bit.ly/2kJlrHy




(all in Sacramento)








You can contact CARA at:  

CARA, 600 Grand Ave. #410, Oakland, CA 94610

NORTH: 510-663-4086 • 510-663-4099 (fax) • jreid.cara@gmail.com

SOUTH: 714-488-5488 • Vishnu.cara@gmail.com

TOLLFREE 1-877-223-6107 • www.californiaalliance.org


National Nurses United

This Sunday – Jan. 15th 

Join “Our First Stand: Save Health Care” National Day of Action 

RNs to Congress: Now is the Time to Improve and Expand Medicare, Not Destroy It! 

Registered nurses will join actions in over 40 U.S. cities Jan. 15th to demand that the new administration and Congress protect and expand millions of Americans’ access to healthcare, not cut it.

“On this day of action we are standing with our elders, our friends and family, along with many of our elected representatives to say NO to the Republicans disastrous proposals,” said Deborah Burger, Co-president, National Nurses United. “At this moment of tremendous confusion about the future of healthcare in the U.S., nurses are saying now is the time to move forward with Medicare for all.”

The day of action, titled “Our First Stand: Save Health Care,” was called for by Sen. Bernie Sanders, along with Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, to send a clear message to the president-elect and members of Congress who are intent upon dismantling the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid.

“Our message to the Republicans is simple and straightforward: You are not going to get away with it. You are not going to punish the elderly, disabled veterans, the children, the sick and the poor while you reward your billionaire friends,” said Sanders in his call to action.

Click here to find an event, co-sponsored by National Nurses United

A more extensive list of Day of Action events can be found here: https://berniesanders.com/ourfirststand/#List


CARA Alert – November 11, 2016

A publication of the California Alliance for Retired Americans

Honor our Veterans!

Election Recap

Shocked, sad, confused, and ready to fight?

Many CARA members have been calling to express their fear, sadness and dismay over the outcome of the national election.  We will definitely have our work cut out for us to protect the programs we depend on from proposals to privatize, voucherize and cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, pensions, housing and more.  But CARA is nothing if not resilient – and we must be ready to build our movement and fight like we never have before.  We must look at this as an opportunity to build coalitions, rally our forces, and engage the public in the important debates.

At the State and local level, we faired a bit better.  Many of the state ballot measures that CARA supported passed, and those we opposed were defeated.  Of the 4 state ballot measures CARA highlighted on our slatecards this election, 3 passed – Prop 51 (funding for K-12 schools and community colleges), Prop 55 (extending the tax to high income earners to pay for schools, health care and other social programs), and Prop 59 (to put California on record opposing the Citizens United case). The 4th measure we supported – Prop 61 (California Drug Price Relief Act) was defeated after the pharmaceutical lobby spent over $120 million dollars threatening consumers and vets with misleading and false ads.   CARA will continue to fight big Pharma.  We will also be developing our legislative agenda for 2017, so stay tuned for information in future CARA Alerts.

A big thank you to everyone in CARA who distributed our slate cards, talked with voters, worked on phone banks and other GOTV efforts, volunteered at the polls and who voted.  California will need to be a beacon for the rest of the country and lead the way on the issues important to seniors and working families.  Onward!!


Call Congress on November 15th, 16th, or 17th

1-888-659-7351 http://stopthetpp.org/call-congress

There is speculation that President Obama will try to bring up the TPP for another vote before he leaves office.  In order to stop that vote from happening, CARA is part of a national effort to raise our voices against the TPP.

On November 15th, 16th, & 17th, we would like you and everyone you know to call Congress and urge your Representative to Vote NO on the TPP.  The toll free call-in number is 1-888-659-7351.  If you would like more information and talking points, go to http://stopthetpp.org/call-congress/.

Get cash back for your online shopping AND raise money for CARA!

The California Alliance for Retired Americans is thrilled to announce our new cash back website which rewards members and friends for their online purchases AND generates donations for CARA.

This new site, powered by the National Nonprofit Network, offers our members’ cash back rebates at more than 1,100 of the Internet’s most popular retailers. Some examples of participating stores are:

In addition to the cash back available, the National Nonprofit Network posts deals and coupons from online stores almost every day. Shoppers can use these coupons to save even more!  With the holiday season upon us, sign up for this easy way to buy gifts, and get cash back for yourself and for CARA.

Here’s how easy it is for you to save money and to raise money for CARA at the same time:

  1. On the address bar of your computer enter: nnn.freecashbackmall.com/CARA
  2. Click on JOIN FREE.    Enter your email address and ZIP Code.
  3. You will have to review the terms of use and check the “I am not a robot” box.  Press SUBMIT.
  4. A welcome letter will appear on the screen with your user name and temporary password.
  5. In the box on left side of screen, click Member Profile.  Complete your Member Profile. There are just two required fields (with asterisk), one is your email address and the other is ZIP/Postal Code. This is also where you would create your new password although it is not required. You may continue to use the password provided when you created your account. Click on the SUBMIT button to save your changes.
  6. Select Stores to search for the merchandise or service you want to purchase and you will be provided a list of online vendors to choose from and compare. You can also search for a specific company you are interested in.
  7. Stores and cash back are subject to change. See nnn.freecashbackmall.com/CARA for a current list of stores and cash back rebate amounts.
  8. Start shopping!

Take advantage of this special benefit right away!

Go to: nnn.freecashbackmall.com/CARA and enroll today!


Jun 15, 2016 05:02 pm | SS Fairness


(put this on your calendar to do):

  1. Call and write your Congresspersons.  Support H. R. 711.  house.gov

Tell them—H.R. 711 corrects the faulty WEP formula.

H.R. 711 was written to be cost neutral.

  1. Californians, Tell Feinstein’s office to sponsor this in the Senate!


It fixes the formula used to apply the WEP and reduces the penalty

The WEP is WRONG for the purpose that it purports to accomplish because its current formula over-assesses penalties and affects people in erratic ways.  H.R. 711 uses a new system treating non-Social Security (FICA) contributing earnings in the same way as regular earnings which have been taxed to pay for Social Security retirement. Under H.R. 711, our non-SS-covered earnings are added toour SS earnings to get a better picture of our lifetime earnings.  It then adds a formula to correct for the fact that those not paying into SS during most of their career look like low-income earners who get a higher rate of return on their Social Security contributions. This new process corrects the original faulty mathematical formula of the WEP.  It will provide a 50% relief for persons who have not turned 62 by Jan. 1, 2017.  The correction is somewhat less for those who are older.

We do agree that the whole idea behind the Windfall Elimination Provision and HR 711 is UNFAIR because it pits the pension you receive from a public agency against the Social Security that you have earned in other work.  Contributions to the public pension we receive are made at a different rate than FICA contributions to Social Security.  Formulas for taxing pensions differ from those used for taxing Social Security and are not even consistent from state to state. Balancing part of our income against Social Security retirement benefits looks just like means-testing. BUT there is little chance to totally repeal that injustice now.


Some of our strongest advocates who have fought for years for total repeal are seeing that the only hope for change is in compromise, as in most governmental decision making.  After 10 years, even strong GPO/WEP repeal supporter Senator Diane Feinstein has given up the fight, asking for another more attainable solution.   “Give me another suggestion,” her office told us.  In 2017, the Social Security Administration will have new powers to double-check the source of everyone’s earnings to more consistently apply the GPO/WEP.  No longer will some slip through the cracks and escape these penalties. This is a one time funding source to lessen the burden of the WEP.  Many longtime lobbyists supporting complete repeal for the GPO/WEP feel that if the WEP is modified, it will offer a chance for later modification of the GPO.  This may be our only opportunity to capitalize on both the momentum and the newly available funding.

The H.R. 711 bill ensures that as long as the Windfall Elimination Provision is going to be administered, it is done accurately.  It can save people as much as $2,000/year.  It will bring the issue of both the GPO and WEP to the attention of Congress.  The more our Representatives know about the WEP, the clearer will be their understanding about the faulty reasoning behind both the offsets.

Support H.R. 711!  Tell your Congresspersons and your Senators why we need this NOW!

The post Action Alert #83 – Act Now to Keep H.R. 711 Going! appeared first on Social Security Fairness.

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March 20, 2016

Tell your senators: do your job, give Court nominee a vote 

Merrick GarlandPresident Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. “Americans are counting on the Senate to do its job by considering the president’s nominee, hold a hearing and a vote,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. “This is a duty that both political parties always have fulfilled. Never in our nation’s history has a Senate majority said they take actionrefuse to consider or vote on anyone nominated by the current President.”

The Constitution is clear: It is the duty of the President to nominate Supreme Court justices and the duty of the Senate to provide “advice and consent”—to hold a hearing and take an up-or-down vote. Click on the “take action” button and tell your senators to do their job.

Tell Congress to invest in our students and fund ESSA

budget graphicThe NEA-opposed GOP budget proposal for FY2017, narrowly approved by the House Budget Committee, would slash nearly $900 billion in funding for domestic discretionary programs—like education, health, and infrastructure—and cut Medicaid, which provides healthcare to one-third of our nation’s children, by $1 trillion.And while this budget is unlikely to go take actionmuch further, it shows how hard educators must continue to push to ensure Congress actually increases the investment in our students’ education.

As states and school districts begin implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it is essential for Congress to increase Title I funding, especially to help the students most in need. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress to give the Labor-HHS-Education bill a bigger share of the budget in FY2017.

Hearing on Social Security offsets to be held next week

social security graphicIn an important development in the continuing fight to repeal Social Security penalties for public servants, a House subcommittee will hold a hearing on March 22 to examine the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). These laws unfairly take actionpenalize and reduce Social Security benefits earned by educators and other public employees. NEA and educators have long seen repeal of these laws as an issue of basic fairness and continue fighting to end the penalties.  

Click the “take action” button to urge Congress to support legislation to fully repeal the GPO and WEP penalties. And stay tuned for more in the next edition of Education Insider.

Cheers and Jeers

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for pointing out the irony of Senate Republicans advocating for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget while ignoring their constitutional duty to vote on the president’s Supreme Court nominee. “Before we start trying to edit the Constitution, don’t you think we should try to follow it? And do our jobs?”



Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), at a hearing on a balanced budget amendment, for urging greater investments in education, research, and infrastructure to grow the economy as a key way to actually balance the budget.


Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) for raising the issue of allowing unemployment compensation for contingent faculty at a House hearing this week with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.


Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) for offering an amendment during committee consideration of the GOP House budget that would provide $475 million in emergency funding for Flint to help address the poisoned water crisis. Her amendment failed on a party-line vote.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee members for continuing to refuse holding a hearing to consider Judge Garland for the Supreme Court.


House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) for putting forward a budget plan that would eviscerate Medicaid and discretionary funding for education and healthcare.

To tell your story: www.EdVotes.org.


Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady Describes How He’d Cut Social Security;
Poll: Social Security Tops the Agenda for Next President;
See How Little the Ultra-Rich Pay into Social Security with New Tool;
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) Hosts Legislative Conference;
Deadline Extended Until February 29 for Western Regional Conference Registration

Here is your February 26th, 2016 Friday Alert:

Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady Describes How He’d Cut Social Security

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, spoke about his plans to cut Social Security on Thursday at an Urban-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center event in Washington, DC. Responding to a question from Henry J. Aaron, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Brady described his plans to cut Social Security by raising the retirement age to 70 and implementing means testing to cut additional benefits. He also referred to “creating a true cost of living for seniors,” a reference to using the chained-CPI cost-of-living adjustment formula to further reduce benefits.

“Chairman Brady has made clear what’s at stake for seniors in the 2016 elections,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We fought hard and succeeded in taking the chained-CPI formula for cutting benefits off the table in 2013. We need to work hard this election cycle or that issue could be right in front of us again.”

Poll: Social Security Tops the Agenda for Next President

A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows the protection of earned Social Security benefits to be a bipartisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all agreed that protecting benefits should be a top economic priority for the next president in the coming years. The poll also found that 85% of Americans believe Social Security’s future is extremely or very important for the incoming president. Many of those interviewed were still deciding which presidential candidate to vote for.

“It is important to choose a president who agrees that Social Security is a vital part of the American Dream and who will protect and expand our earned benefits,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

See How Little the Ultra-Rich Pay into Social Security with New Tool

The Center for Economic and Policy Research released a handy tool for calculating exactly when top earners stopped paying into Social Security this year. According to their calculations – as reported in an earlier Friday Alert – a person who earns a $1 million salary stopped paying Social Security taxes for 2016 on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

The tool is part of a larger effort to “Scrap the Cap” and eliminate the $118,500 annual earnings cap, after which people do not have to continue to pay Social Security taxes. Try the tool for yourself to see when the top earners stopped paying.

“There is a simple fix for keeping Social Security around for future generations: scrap the cap and make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) Hosts Legislative Conference

Eva Dominguez, Legislative Representative for the Alliance, spoke at FLARA’s Annual Legislative Conference and Quarterly Executive Board meeting in Tallahassee this week. Fifty attendees discussed issues related to income inequality, redistricting, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, ethics legislation, and Florida’s budget. State Sen. Darren Desoto and State Rep. Kevin Rader spoke. State Sen. Joe Abruzzo, who has sponsored legislation to address income inequality in Florida,also addressed the attendees.

FLARA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on a resolution that urges people not to visit or move to Florida due to the many serious issues facing the population there. Florida’s high income inequality and home foreclosures, as well as the second most regressive tax system in the U.S., were cited as just a few of the 16 reasons people should avoid Florida until the Governor and legislative leaders address the issues.

Deadline Extended Until February 29 for Western Regional Conference Registration

It’s not too late to register for the quadrennial Western Regional Conference! The deadline has been extended until Monday, February 29. Register online and save the late fee. The Conference will be held March 8–9, 2016 at the Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Alliance’s quadrennial Southern Regional conference will be held March 29–30, 2016 at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Please reserve your room by March 11 to get the discounted hotel rate in Orlando. The quadrennial Midwest Regional Conference will be held May 4-5, 2016 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Detroit, Michigan.

During each conference we will elect four regional board members and prepare for the 2016 general election. Questions? Contact Joni Jones at mailto:jjones@retiredamericans.org?can_id=e02944da8630899890eab4819631dccc&source=email-february-19th-2016-friday-alert&email_referrer=february-19th-2016-friday-alert&email_subject=february-19th-2016-friday-alert&link_id=8&can_id=d01dfd5a94785297c7cabb324fa6c472&email_referrer=february-26th-2016-friday-alert-2&email_subject=february-26th-2016-friday-alert&link_id=7 or 202-637-5377.

For a printable or pdf version of this document, click here.

For the Alliance’s Spanish language page, which includes last week’s Friday Alert in Spanish, go to www.retiredamericans.org/en-espanol

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Alliance for Retired Americans | 815 16th Street, NW | Washington, DC 20006 | www.retiredamericans.org 


Social Security Works
Last Spring — thanks to your hard work — over 90% of Senate Democrats went on record supporting Social Security expansion. Now we have a chance to do the same in the House.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL) has introduced House Resolution 393, which supports protecting and expanding Social Security, and she already has 107 co-sponsors!

Rep. Schakowsky recently appeared on The Zero Hour with our friend and radio host Richard “RJ” Eskow to discuss her efforts in the House to protect and expand the retirement security of millions of Americans.

Click here to join Social Security Works and The Zero Hour in supporting Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s House Resolution 393 to protect and expand Social Security and listen to Rep. Schakowsky’s recent radio interview.

In her interview, Rep. Schakowsky discussed why Social Security is so critical in this presidential election year:

“As we head into this actual election year, I wanted to remind people how important Social Security is in the lives of Americans. We’re talking about 60 million Americans who rely on Social Security including 43 million retirees, 9.5 million veterans, 9 million people with disabilities, 4.4 million children who are relying on Social Security; without which, many of those people would be living in abject poverty.”

Right now, 43 out of 46 Senate Democrats and two out of three Democratic presidential candidates are on record in support of expanding, never cutting Social Security. If we can increase our numbers in the House, we can demonstrate overwhelming support for expansion within the Democratic Party.

Please click here to sign the petition supporting House Resolution 393 to protect and expand Social Security.

Recent polling shows that 79% of likely voters – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – support expanding Social Security benefits and paying for it by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share. Rep. Schakowsky’s resolution is a major opportunity for our elected officials to stand with millions of Americans and say loud and clear: Expand, don’t cut Social Security!

Thank you,
Michael Phelan
Social Security Works


Message from the President
CTA President Eric Heins
January 10, 2016
Dear Colleagues:
Tomorrow is a very important day for working families across America. The United States Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in Friedrichs v. CTA. Simply put, it’s a case seeking to overturn more than 40 years of precedent to further tip the balance of influence to corporate special interests, ultimately making things worse for unions, as well as the working families and communities we serve. But this case is about so much more. It threatens the work we do every day to improve the learning environments for students and it undermines our ability to make the improvements we know are in the best interests of all students.
I’ll be at the Supreme Court tomorrow representing you, our students and working families everywhere. While I know you can’t join me at the Supreme Court, I’m asking you to join me virtually.
You can have a major impact just by “liking” and “sharing” our Facebook posts and re-tweeting our images and videos that CTA posts. We will begin posting this morning and throughout the day tomorrow.
Here’s how you can help:
On Facebook:
  1. If you haven’t already, visit http://facebook.com/californiateachersassociation and “like” our page.
  2. Change your Facebook cover photo by visiting: http://www.cta.org/worktogether and downloading the image, and then uploading it to your cover photo.
  3. “Like,” share and comment on our posts. Every time a person “likes,” shares or comments on a Facebook post, the post gets pushed out to more people, and it expands our reach.
On Twitter:
  1. If you haven’t already, visit http://twitter.com/CATeachersAssoc and “follow” us.
  2. Change your Twitter cover photo by visiting: http://www.cta.org/worktogether and downloading the image, and then uploading it to your cover photo.
  3. Retweet and like our tweets. Every time a person retweets a tweet, the tweet gets pushed out to more people, and it expands our reach.
On Instagram:
  1. If you haven’t already, download the Instagram app for your phone. Find @CATeachersAssoc and “follow” us.
  2. View our photos and “like” and comment on them.
We will be in touch in the coming days and weeks about this and other issues impacting our profession. In the meantime, thanks for all you do to nurture, empower and educate California students.
In solidarity,
Eric C. Heins, CTA President
Dean Vogel
California Teachers Association
The preeminent voice for educators and students in California’s public schools and colleges.
Learn more at www.cta.org.
1705 Murchison Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone: (650) 697-1400