Legislative Update for Week Ending April 6, 2018

Legislative Update for Week Ending April 6, 2018

This week, lawmakers remained in their home states and districts to continue the two-week spring recess. Meanwhile, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) endorsed one new bill that would reduce prescription drug costs and one key bill gained support in the Senate.

Congress Remains in Recess

This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate remained in their home states and districts to continue the two-week recess. They are expected to return to Washington on Monday, April 9th. In the meantime, many Members of Congress will be attending local events or hosting town hall meetings in their home states and districts.

TSCL encourages its supporters to attend these events and to ask important questions of their elected officials, like the following three:

  1. Social Security beneficiaries received a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 2 percent this year, but most are seeing their benefit increases completely offset by higher Medicare Part B premiums. Do you support legislation that would give older Americans a more fair and adequate Social Security COLA?
  2. Roughly 56 percent of older taxpaying households paid income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits this year, 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?
  3. Most Americans contribute 6.2 percent of every paycheck to Social Security, but due to the payroll tax cap, people earning more than $128,400 contribute nothing over that amount. Eliminating the payroll tax cap would extend the solvency of the program responsibly, without cutting benefits for seniors. Do you agree?

For more information about town hall meetings near you during the spring recess, click HERE. You can also call the local offices of your Members of Congress to request information about upcoming town halls. For contact information, click HERE.

TSCL Endorses New Prescription Drug Bill

This week, The Senior Citizens League announced its support for a new bipartisan bill from Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) that would result in lower prescription drug costs for older Americans if signed into law. The Know the Lowest Price Act (S. 2553) would prohibit health plans and pharmacy benefit managers from disallowing pharmacists to tell their patients when it is cheaper to purchase their prescriptions out-of-pocket rather than through their health insurance plans.

In a letter of endorsement, Art Cooper – Chairman of TSCL’s Board of Trustees – wrote: “In a recent survey of The Senior Citizens League’s supporters, as many as one-third of respondents said they postponed filling their prescriptions or took less than prescribed due to high costs … Our supporters question why Congress hasn’t taken action to correct this injustice and to protect the American public from rising prescription drug costs.”

TSCL enthusiastically supports the Know the Lowest Price Act and we thank Senator Stabenow and the seven cosponsors of her new bill for being true champions for older Americans in the Senate. For more information on this bill and others TSCL has endorsed, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.

Key Social Security Bill Gains Support

This week, one new cosponsor – Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) – signed on to the Social Security Expansion Act (S. 427), bringing the total up to two. If signed into law, S. 427 would comprehensively reform the Social Security program by making the cost-of-living adjustment more adequate, increasing monthly checks by around $70 per month, improving the Special Minimum Benefit, applying the payroll tax to income above $250,000, and applying a 6.2 percent tax on investment income for wealthy individuals.

The Senior Citizens League thanks Senator Merkley for cosponsoring this important bill and we will continue to advocate for its passage in the months ahead since it would strengthen the Social Security program responsibly, without cutting Social Security benefits. For more information about S. 427, click HERE.