Legislative Update for Week Ending March 31, 2017

Legislative Update for Week Ending March 31, 2017

This week, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for three new bills that were recently introduced in the House and Senate.

TSCL Endorses Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act

This week, TSCL endorsed legislation called the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (S. 771, H.R. 1776), which was introduced by Senator Al Franken (MN) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-6) with the support of several other lawmakers. If adopted, the bill would comprehensively reform the prescription drug industry to reduce costs for consumers.

Among other things, it would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, allow individuals to import prescription drugs from Canada, require greater price transparency from drug manufacturers, accelerate the closing of the Part D “doughnut hole,” restore drug rebates for low-income seniors, and put a $250 monthly cap on prescription drug spending for individuals.

Upon introducing the bill on Wednesday, Congresswoman Schakowsky said: “Prescription drug prices have reached a crisis point … It’s about time that Congress acts to bring down those prices, which are driving up premiums and out-of-pocket costs for people all over the country. President Trump has been clear about his interest in addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs, and I hope that the President will give this bill the consideration it deserves.”

TSCL agrees with Congresswoman Schakowsky, and we look forward to working with the bill’s sponsors in the House and Senate to help build support for it. For more information on the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act, click HERE.

TSCL Endorses Protecting Our Widows and Widowers in Retirement Act

This week, TSCL announced its support for the Protecting Our Widows and Widowers in Retirement (POWR) Act (H.R. 1583). If signed into law, the bill – which was introduced by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38) in the House – would create a new Social Security benefit for widows and widowers in two-income households that would equal 75 percent of the combined benefits they received while both individuals were alive. Currently, the average widow or widower sees a benefit cut between 33 and 50 percent after the death of a spouse, but he or she requires around 79 percent of the combined benefit total to maintain his or her standard of living.

Upon introducing her new bill, Congresswoman Sánchez said: “After a lifetime of hard work, seniors deserve to retire with dignity in their later years. And losing your spouse should not also lead to financial ruin … The POWR Act ensures that in their darkest hours, those on Social Security will still be able to have some financial security and peace of mind. Instead of losing half of their monthly household income, seniors will be able to keep a little more of their combined benefits.”

TSCL enthusiastically supports the POWR Act since we believe it would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security older Americans have earned and deserve. For updates on the progress of the bill, follow TSCL on Twitter, or click HERE for more information.

TSCL Endorses Save Social Security Act

This week, TSCL endorsed the Save Social Security Act (H.R. 1631), which was recently introduced in the House by Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13). If signed into law, the bill would provide a tax cut to millions of low and middle-income Social Security beneficiaries and extend the life of the trust fund for decades to come. It would do so by eliminating taxes on Social Security benefits for seniors making less than $100,000 per year, and for working individuals, it would apply the Social Security payroll tax to earnings over $300,000 per year.

Upon introducing the Save Social Security Act, Congressman Crist said: “By asking the top two percent to pay their fair share into Social Security – the same that is asked of middle class families – we put the program on a solid fiscal foundation for future generations. Providing a tax cut to middle class seniors while increasing the sustainability of Social Security is something everyone in Congress can – and should – agree on."

TSCL agrees with Congressman Crist, and we look forward to working with his office in the months ahead to build support for his important new bill. For progress updates or more information, click HERE.