PRESS RELEASE


NRLN Organizes Grassroots Campaign Against

Medicare Prescription Drug Bill


Retiree Group’s Web Site Offers User-Friendly

Way to Contact Congressional Representatives

 (WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2003) – The National Retirees Legislative Network (NRLN) has announced a bipartisan, grassroots letter writing campaign directed at elected officials in Congress who voted for passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act.  The NRLN is a Washington-based grassroots coalition of retiree and older worker organizations dedicated to protecting the pension and health benefits of their members. 

“Last summer, when we went on record opposing this legislation, we made known our intentions to work to defeat any member of Congress who supported this flawed bill,” NRLN president Jim Norby explained.  “With the bill’s passage, we intend to deliver on that promise,” Norby said.

 

Retirees and other older Americans can learn how their elected representatives in Congress voted on the Medicare measure by logging onto the NRLN’s Web site (www.nrln.org) and entering their zip code under the “Write to Congress” heading.  The link will automatically provide:

        Names, photographs, background information and voting record of each U.S. senator and House of Representative member from the zip code area.

        Mailing and e-mail addresses for both their Washington and district offices.

        How they voted on the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act and other key legislation affecting retirees and older Americans.

        Each member’s PAC contributions.

 

“The Web site also provides easy access to local newspapers and other news media by zip code, making it easy for retirees and older Americans to voice their views in a Letter to the Editor, or other editorial forum,” Norby said.

 

In a letter to his own House of Representative member, Rep. Mary Bono of California, Norby wrote,In my view, as well as the view of several million other retirees, you have done your constituency a grave injustice. Only time will tell how really bad that legislation is. We have sent you volumes of material. You have received letters, e-mails, and telephone calls from retirees who oppose this Bill. You have seen fit, however, to follow the ‘money path’ and not the voters you supposedly represent.

“This is to file notice with you that not only will I not vote for you for public office ever again, but that I will work actively to bring about your defeat.”

 

The Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act opens the door for every company in the country to terminate its retiree prescription drug program, shifting the cost to U.S. taxpayers, according to Norby.  “By cutting billions of dollars in their retiree benefit costs, employers will be able to inflate and distort reporting of corporate profitability, leading to undeserved cash bonuses and rejuvenated stock options for top executives at the expense of retirees,” Norby said.

 

The NRLN president invited AARP members angered over that organization’s endorsement of the Medicare measure to join his organization’s efforts against what Norby calls “legislative malpractice.” 

 

“In a survey of AARP members commissioned by the AFL-CIO, only 18 percent were in favor of Congress passing the Medicare package.  We would encourage the majority of members who feel as we do and oppose that legislation to resign their membership and join NRLN, which unlike AARP does not stand to benefit financially from selling prescription-drug policies to seniors under this legislation,” Norby added.

 

Based in Washington, D.C., NRLN represents nearly 2 million retirees from Association of US WEST Retirees, Association of BellTel Retirees, Association of Prudential Retirees, Monsanto Retirees Association, along with groups from Boeing, GE, GM, IBM, Johns Manville, Lucent, AT&T, Portland Electric (Enron), SNET, Western Union, Raytheon, Continental Tire and others. 

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