April 12, 2016
NYSARA Activists meet with Senator Crowley (D) Bronx/Queens on the TPP and Retirement Security
On Monday April 11, 2016 a group of NYSARA activists including NYSARA President Barry Kaufmann, NYSARA Executive Director John Costello and members of the New York City Chapter of NYSARA Doris Welch, Audrey Iszard, Armando Mandes and Marvin Goodman met with Congressman Joseph Crowley (D) Bronx/Queens, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In a wide ranging over 1 hour conversation with the congressman on behalf of NYSARA’s 440,000 members and over 7,000 households in the Congressman’s district a plethora of topics were discussed, including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Social Security and the even the broader issue of Retirement Security. NYSARA thanked the Congressman for his votes against the TPA (Fast Track Trade Authority) and the TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) and for his leadership in co-sponsoring legislation (HR3150) to insure that all Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries receive 100% of their earned benefits as well as the “Seniors have eyes, ears and teeth act (HR 3308) that expands Medicare benefits to include vision, hearing and dental care.
NYSARA President Barry Kaufmann presented the reasons why we oppose the TPP as it would increase drug prices and memorialize an undemocratic dispute process that would give corporations unprecedented abilities to sue nations, unrestricted by law and adjudicated by arbitrators that also represent those same corporations in different cases. Congressman Crowley said “I have NEVER voted for a multinational Trade deal. I voted against CAFTA and had I been in Congress, would have voted against NAFTA.” He went on to say that there currently is no desire for this issue to come to the floor and in its current form he couldn’t see himself altering his multinational trade pact record.
NYSARA activists and Congressman Crowley then continued a discussion of fixing Social Security. The Congressman said that the demise of Social Security system is not imminent and we have time to fix it. He went on to say that the fix would be relatively easy and accomplished by “scrapping the cap”. Regarding Retirement Security the Congressman bemoaned the loss of defined benefit pensions and said that he is supporting a variety of approaches that would both improve and expand retirement savings plans and develop a program that replicated some of the effective parts of defined benefit pensions. He described it as a “four leg stool” to secure the problems that the traditional “three legged stool” of retirement security have encountered.