Legislative Update: August 2015

Legislative Update: August 2015

Questions To Ask At Your Next Town Hall

By Jessie Gibbons, Senior Policy Analyst

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have adjourned for a month-long recess, and most of them will be reaching out to their constituents by hosting town hall meetings or attending local events in their home states and districts. We encourage our members and supporters to attend these events, since they are excellent opportunities for constituents to make their voices heard. To best be prepared, it’s a good idea to jot down some questions that you would like to ask your elected officials. Below are ten examples – feel free to take them with to your next town hall meeting.

  • The Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund is projected to become depleted next year, in 2016. What do you feel should be done to restore this program’s solvency?
  • Seniors have lost more than 20% of their purchasing power since 2000. What is your position on the adoption of the “chained” CPI for the calculation of COLAs, which studies show would put the purchasing power of Social Security benefits even further behind?
  • This year, more than 50% of Social Security beneficiaries paid taxes on their benefits, even though many of them only made twice the federal poverty level in income. Do you believe this is fair, and if not, what should be done about it?
  • Most Americans contribute 6.2% of every paycheck to Social Security, but due to the taxable maximum earnings cap, wealthy individuals earning more than $118,500 pay nothing above that amount. Do you support increasing or eliminating the maximum taxable earnings limit to make the program more solvent?
  • Nearly 1.5 million teachers and other public servants see their Social Security benefits reduced by as much as 40% due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. What do you feel should be done about this?
  • Last November, President Obama bypassed Congress to halt the deportations of nearly 5 million unauthorized immigrants. Do you believe his executive orders have overstepped the constitutional limits and that they should be fully implemented?
  • Under current law, noncitizens who gain temporary work authorization can qualify for long-term Social Security benefits based on work under invalid Social Security numbers that was done prior to gaining that authorization. If elected, would you support legislation to modify this policy?
  • Many lawmakers feel that major Medicare reform is necessary, even though Congress has already made significant changes to the program this year. Do you agree, and if so, what changes do you think must be made?
  • Experts estimate that fraud, waste, and abuse within Medicare cost more than $60 billion each year. What efforts do you support to ramp up prevention?
  • Between July 2013 and July 2014, the prices of more than 1,200 generic drugs increased an average of 448%. What do you believe should be done to manage the extreme cost increases of prescription drugs?