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May 13, 2005
Senate Prepares for 'Nuclear' Showdown
Independence of Federal Courts At Risk
The Senate could vote as early as next week on the so-called "nuclear option," which would seriously erode our government's system of checks and balances and undermine the independence of the federal courts from political pressure.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said, barring a last-minute deal, he will move to eliminate the Senate's 200-year-old procedure that allows unlimited debate, or filibustering, on judicial nominations. Doing so would grant virtually unlimited power to the majority political party. It also would open the door to stacking federal courts with ideologues who, among other things, are more likely to support private school vouchers. The vote is too close to call.
NEA opposes the nuclear option because it would give a party unchecked power to impose its political agenda on the federal courts. Instead, the Senate should retain the right to unlimited debate, giving Senators from both parties the opportunity for bipartisan cooperation and consultation.
- Urge your Senators to oppose the nuclear option
- Tell others about the importance of keeping our courts free from politics. Forward this message to your friends, family, and colleagues.
President Bush Admits Plan Would Cut Social Security Benefits
President Bush's proposal to privatize Security took center stage yesterday in the first of a series of hearings by the House Ways and Means Committee to write legislation that would allow the federal government to use Social Security funds to create private stock market accounts.
The hearing (read NEA's testimony) follows a primetime news conference last month by President Bush at which he revealed for the first time that his plan would cut Social Security benefits for most workers. Under the President's plan, workers who earn between $25,000 and $90,000 would lose 25 percent of their benefits. Workers who earn more than $90,000 would see a 37 percent cut.
NEA supports Social Security reform that is fair and ensures at a minimum the same level of benefits provided by the existing system. At a time when more employers are reducing or dropping pension plans, workers should not be forced to gamble on the stock market for their retirement security.
- Stop the privatization of Social Security. Sign a petition to Congress and the White House. Already, NEA members and friends have sent more than 58,000 petitions.
- Educate your friends, colleagues and families by forwarding them this message and asking them to sign a petition telling Washington, "Don't gamble with my retirement security!"
- Urge your Senators and Representatives who haven't done so to cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 147/S. 619), which would fully repeal both the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.
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