Legislative Update for Week Ending February 23, 2018

Legislative Update for Week Ending February 23, 2018

This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate returned to their home states and districts for a week-long recess. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for one new bill that would promote early identification of Alzheimer’s disease, and two key bills gained cosponsors.

Congress Adjourns for Recess

This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate adjourned for a week-long recess. They are expected to return to Washington on Monday, February 26th. In the meantime, many elected officials 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. People earning more than one million dollars stopped contributing to the program for the year last week, on February 16th. 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 this week’s recess, click HERE. You can also call the local offices of your Members of Congress to request information about town hall meetings. For contact information, click HERE.

TSCL Endorses the CHANGE Act

This week, TSCL announced its support for the bipartisan Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act (H.R. 4957, S. 2387). If signed into law, the CHANGE Act would direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create programs that would promote early identification of Alzheimer’s disease, improve support for family caregivers, and provide continuous care for those battling many forms of dementia.

Upon introducing the bill, Representative Linda Sanchez(CA-38) said: “I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to promote and streamline early assessment and diagnosis and provide support to patients and their family caregivers."

In addition, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV) – the bill’s sponsor in the Senate – stated: “Having lost both of my parents to Alzheimer’s, I truly understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll it takes on patients and their caregivers. This legislation will encourage early assessment and diagnosis to help lessen that burden and bring us one step closer to a cure.”

TSCL thanks Representative Sanchez and Senator Moore Capito for their leadership on this important issue, and we look forward to working with their offices to help build support for the CHANGE Act. For updates on the bill’s movement, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.

Two Key Bills Gain Support

This week, TSCL saw support grow for two key House bills. First, two new cosponsors signed on to the bipartisan CREATES Act of 2017 (H.R. 2212), bringing the total up to seven. The new cosponsors are Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) and Representative Francis Rooney (FL-19). If signed into law, the bill would increase competition in the prescription drug industry by encouraging generic and biosimilar drug manufacturers to introduce their products to the market more quickly.

Second, the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1205) gained three new cosponsors, bringing the total up to 174. They are: Representative Darren Soto (FL-9), Representative Vincente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Representative Thomas Suozzi (NY-3). If adopted, H.R. 1205 would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) – two unfair provisions that reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, police officers, and other public servants each year.

TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 2212 and H.R. 1205, and we were pleased to see support grow for both of them this week. For more information, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.