August 25, 2010, WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a continued effort to bring news and relevant information about our federal government back to his home district in Los Angeles, Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, brings you “The Becerra Bulletin,” an e-newsletter filled with facts and information meant to stimulate thought and discussion about American economic policy and a host of other issues. Please leave your comments.
BY THE NUMBERS
75 YEARS OF SOCIAL SECURITY – ELIMINATING POVERTY IN OLD AGE
In 1935, the United States made a landmark promise to its seniors: after a lifetime of work, you should not have to live in poverty in retirement. Prior to Social Security, over 75 percent of our nation's senior citizens lived in poverty.
Today, thanks to Social Security and the improvements that have been made to it over the years, the poverty rate for elderly Americans has dropped to 10 percent.
Social Security keeps 13 million seniors, including more than 1 million Californians, out of poverty. The program also provides a safety net for over 1 million children and 5 million adults, lifting a total of 20 million Americans out of poverty.
Paying an average monthly inflation-protected retirement benefit of $1,170, Social Security serves as a modest, yet solid guard against poverty for most retired Americans.
As the chart to the right shows, without Social Security benefits 45 percent of our seniors would be in poverty:
SHORT TAKES – WASHINGTON, D.C.
700 CA-31 TEACHERS KEPT IN THE CLASSROOM
On August 10, the House of Representatives was called into session to pass the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act to keep more than 300,000 American workers on the job. This ensures that 160,000 teachers, including more than 700 in California’s 31st Congressional District, are kept in the classroom and 158,000 first responders such as police officers, firefighters, and nurses are on the job serving our communities. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act is completely paid-for and reduces the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years—in part by closing a loophole that encourages corporations to ship American jobs overseas.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENDED: A BOOST FOR FAMILIES AND THE ECONOMY
On July 22, Congress approved an extension of expiring unemployment insurance benefits. The legislation extended unemployment benefits to 2.5 million Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. “Millions of Americans are struggling through the worst job market in a generation precipitated by the careless behavior of Wall Street banks. Extending these much-need unemployment benefits to working families is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do to keep our economic recovery moving,” Rep. Becerra said following final passage of the bill.
‘THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN’—WALL STREET REFORM BECOMES A REALITY
On July 21, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. “There’s a new sheriff in town to protect America’s working families and small businesses from the worst practices of unscrupulous Wall Street banks. For too long a culture of deregulation and lax oversight put our entire economy, millions of jobs and our retirements at risk during the depths of the Great Recession,” Rep. Becerra said after the bill was signed into law. In 2007-2008 alone, the value of American’s private retirement accounts dropped by $2.8 trillion and their overall net worth plummeted by $11.8 trillion. The new Wall Street reforms put an end to that lawless culture and will usher in a new era of accountability and transparency for the American people. Click here to learn more.
SHORT TAKES – LOS ANGELES
NEW MAP SHOWS RECOVERY PROJECTS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
In the wake of the 2008 banking crisis on Wall Street, more than 8 million Americans lost their jobs. As of last month, over 2 million Californian workers continue to search for employment. Our country is emerging from an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression and Congressman Becerra is working with President Obama to put America back on track by putting Americans back to work. A year after the Recovery Act was signed into law our economy has seen positive job growth in the last seven consecutive months. In our congressional district, nearly 150 Recovery Act grants and contracts have been awarded to private and public employers doing important work in the community. Explore the map to learn more about the Recovery Act project throughout our district.
SPEAKER PELOSI CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF SOCIAL SECURITY WITH REP. BECERRA IN CA-31
On August 4, Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to California’s 31st Congressional District to celebrate 75 years of Social Security during a community forum at the Ricardo Lizarraga Elementary School. Seventy five years ago, President Roosevelt saw millions of Americans living in destitute poverty after a lifetime of work—and he set out to build a better America. By signing the Social Security Act—a bold measure at the time— FDR set in motion a program that has since lifted millions of retired, disabled and widowed Americans out of poverty. “As a Senior Member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, Xavier Becerra has been leading the fight to protect Social Security,” Speaker Pelosi said following the meeting. Click here to learn more about Rep. Becerra’s efforts to preserve and strengthen Social Security and see photos and video from the event.