Sen. Joe Manchin today released the following statement regarding the Senate's failure to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the S. 3985, the Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act of 2010:
"I was proud to stand up for our seniors and support S. 3985, the Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act of 2010. I am very disappointed that the motion to proceed did not pass.
"Our seniors have given so much to West Virginia and our nation, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that they are getting the care and support they deserve and have earned. In these difficult economic times, and after no COLA adjustment for two years, this $250 emergency relief was much needed. It would have helped countless seniors in West Virginia and across our nation, who are struggling, make ends meet.
"As today's vote clearly shows, we must work in a bipartisan fashion and re-examine the COLA formula because the cost-of-living continues to go up for our seniors, but the payments are not keeping pace. I plan to make this a priority in the next session of Congress."
Additional Background regarding COLA:
There are currently 436,000 West Virginians who receive Social Security benefits, and seniors will be able take advantage of the $250 payment.
Social Security COLAs are based on a measure of inflation reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the Consumer Price Index) and a formula specified in the Social Security Act. Consumer prices reached a peak in the third quarter of 2008 but fell in subsequent months. Because the CPI-W did not regain its 2008 peak over subsequent measurement periods used to determine the COLA for 2010 and 2011, there has been no inflation adjustment to benefits for two consecutive years. For the first time ever, the result will be a second consecutive year where Social Security retirees saw no increase in their monthly Social Security benefits.