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NBC News reports the Rooftop where the gunman shot at Trump was identified as a security vulnerability; Judge Cannon dismisses Classified Documents Case against Trump; UTA professors refuse to comply with Title IX of abortion law; smaller ranchers voice concerns about USDA electronic tag mandates.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Possible cuts to Social Security come back into focus

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   

Congress just avoided a partial government shutdown by approving a budget through the end of September, but a new blueprint is renewing debate about a key safety net program and advocates in North Dakota and elsewhere are worried.

For the 2025 fiscal year, a House caucus of more than 170 Republican lawmakers has issued a proposed outline. It includes raising the retirement age for Social Security eligibility "to account for increases in life expectancy."

Nancy Altman, president of the advocacy group Social Security Works, said, like past suggestions from the caucus, it should be considered a non-starter, arguing it essentially amounts to a benefit cut.

"You never catch up," Altman asserted. "Even if you work till age 70, your benefit's going to be about 7% lower than it is under current law."

There was no specific higher age outlined, but AARP North Dakota has also sounded the alarm about the plan, urging its members to demand "no cuts." Social Security faces financial headwinds a decade from now, but Altman supports President Joe Biden's calls for raising payroll taxes on the wealthy to help ensure the program stays fully funded. His skeptics argued it would not be enough.

However, Altman and other advocates think it is a good first step. The GOP framework also calls for reducing benefits for higher earners. No income threshold was provided but Altman suspects it would still hurt a lot of people who are not exactly wealthy in their retirement.

"It's not what many people would think," Altman contended. "They're certainly not Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, and the billionaire class."

She predicted the people targeted for cuts would be more aligned with the middle class. Republicans insist the changes would not cut or delay benefits for any senior currently in or near retirement. North Dakota's lone Congressman, Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., is part of the caucus behind the proposal.

Disclosure: AARP North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Community Issues and Volunteering, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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