Your Opinion Our Most Valuable Advocacy Tool
By Jessie Gibbons, Senior Policy Analyst
Each year, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) asks supporters like you to share your thoughts on the policy priorities at the top of the congressional agenda. The results of the annual Senior Survey are TSCL’s most valuable advocacy tool. Your opinions help shape TSCL’s legislative agenda for the year ahead and give our team the knowledge we need to inform Members of Congress, the media, and the public about the challenges facing older Americans.
In 2017, the Senior Survey results showed overwhelming support for four key issues: a more adequate Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), an increase in the Social Security payroll tax cap, a modestly more generous Social Security benefit, and lower prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. These four policy issues sat at the top of TSCL’s legislative agenda in 2017, and our team has been advocating tirelessly on Capitol Hill for the following bills…
- A more adequate Social Security COLA. Improving the adequacy of the COLA won the support of 86% of Senior Survey respondents in 2017. As a result, TSCL endorsed the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act (H.R. 1251), a bipartisan bill that would base the COLA on the spending patterns of older Americans – not the spending patterns of young, working Americans.
- An increase in the Social Security payroll tax cap. Increasing the annual payroll tax cap – which is $128,700 in 2018 – gained the support of 73% of Senior Survey respondents in 2017. TSCL has endorsed several bills, including the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 1902), which would modify the payroll tax so that millionaires and billionaires contribute more fairly to the Social Security program.
- A modestly more generous monthly benefit. In 2017, 78% of Senior Survey respondents said they would like to see a modest Social Security benefit boost to make up for years of inadequate COLAs. As a result, TSCL’s legislative team has been advocating for the Social Security Expansion Act (H.R. 1114), which would modify the Social Security benefit formula to make it slightly more generous. If enacted, the average beneficiary would see a benefit increase of $70 per month – an amount that TSCL feels is fair and necessary.
- Lower prescription drug costs. Policy solutions that would result in lower prescription drug costs received overwhelming support from respondents of the 2017 Senior Survey. Allowing the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries won the support of 90% of respondents, and prohibiting deals that keep generic drugs off the market won the support of 81%. TSCL endorsed comprehensive legislation in 2017 – the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (H.R. 1776) – that would accomplish both of these if signed into law.
This month, TSCL is once again asking supporters like you to share your thoughts on the issues that YOU want on top of the Congressional agenda. Your responses to the 2018 Senior Survey – (insert link online) – will shape TSCL’s work for the year ahead and will serve as our most valuable advocacy tool on Capitol Hill. Please take a few minutes to fill out the 2018 Senior Survey and return it to TSCL. Your input is greatly appreciated by our legislative team.
For more information on TSCL’s legislative agenda or to take the 2018 Senior Survey online, visit our website at www.SeniorsLeague.org.