Kilili: Republicans Block $250 COLA Check Veterans, Seniors


Guam –  Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a bill to provide another $250 payment to Social Security recipients and disabled veterans. The payment is meant to replace a lost cost-of-living increase for 2011.

“I find it unconscionable that Republicans are blocking a little bit of help – $250 – for seniors and for men and women who risked their lives for our country, and at the same time Republicans are demanding a $700 billion tax break for the wealthy, millionaires and billionaires,” said Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan after the vote.

141 Republicans voted against H.R. 5987, the Seniors Protection Act, which would have given seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities who receive Social Security a one-time $250 payment in 2011. The Social Security Administration recently announced there would be no annual cost-of-living increase this year because the national inflation rate is low.

“It’s hard for my constituents, seeing gas prices shoot through the roof and other basic goods getting more and more expensive, to believe that they don’t need a cost-of-living increase,” Sablan said.

“And it’s hard for my constituents to believe this country can’t afford to help those who need help the most, when they see billion of dollars of tax benefits going to those who have the most.”

In 2010, there was also  no cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients. But the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a $250 check. About 2,500 people in the Northern Marianas got the payment.

“Not only is that money good for seniors and others on fixed incomes. It’s also good for our economy. Because those who only have a little have to spend what they have to pay for their day-to-day expenses.

“Those $250 checks are not going into savings accounts. That money is being spent for gas and food and medicine.”

Sablan is an original co-sponsor of the Seniors Protection Act.