Legislative Report…Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

The House of Representatives has passed the Older Americans Act reauthorization. AARP urges the Senate to quickly pass this bill,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. This OAA reauthorization bill safeguards essential programs and services that assist, protect, nourish and sustain older Americans, and promotes their dignity and independence in a fiscally responsible way. The OAA helps save precious federal and state tax dollars by keeping older Americans out of nursing homes and preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions.

Since it was enacted into law in 1965, millions of at-risk older Americans have relied on the services provided by the OAA for their health and financial security. These services help older Americans live independently by:

Supporting nutrition programs, including Meals-on-Wheels;

Providing home and community-based services, including preventive health services and transportation assistance;

Assisting family caregivers with information and referral, counseling and respite care;

Preventing and detecting elder abuse; and

Providing part-time community service employment and training, including the Senior Community Employment Program (SCSEP), which has helped more than 1 million older Americans enter the workforce.

A few weeks ago, AARP’s Take a Stand campaign delivered petitions to Fox News and CNN urging the networks to ask the candidates a question about how they would update Social Security for future generations. Ted Cruz said we should raise the retirement age, reduce the rate of growth of benefits for younger workers and allow private accounts. John Kasich said we should reduce benefits for higher-income workers. Marco Rubio said we should gradually raise the retirement age, and reduce benefits for higher-income workers. Donald Trump said, “I want to leave Social Security as is. We will get rid of waste, fraud and abuse. ”

Wonder what the Democratic candidates have to say? Secretary Clinton doesn’t support any reductions in benefits. She favors increasing benefits by raising benefits for survivors, and creating a caregiver credit. She is also looking to increase revenue for Social Security by lifting the payroll tax cap and broadening the taxation base. Senator Sanders also doesn’t want to reduce benefits, and he would actually boost them via a general increase for all recipients, a further jump in the minimum benefit, and a higher price index for cost-of-living adjustments. Like Secretary Clinton, he would boost revenue for Social Security by lifting the payroll tax cap and broadening the tax base.