Legislative Update for Week Ending November 30, 2018

Legislative Update for Week Ending November 30, 2018

This week, House and Senate lawmakers returned to Washington to resume the “lame duck” session of Congress and continued working towards a deal to keep the federal government operating past next Friday. In addition, The Senior Citizens League saw four key bills gain support in the House and Senate.

Lawmakers Resume “Lame Duck” Session

This week, lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill following a week-long holiday recess. They have just one week to reach a deal to fund most of the federal government past Friday, December 7th. Should they fail to reach an agreement before then, part of the federal government will shut down like it did earlier this year.

Senator Richard Shelby (AL) – Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee – told reporters this week that a shutdown is possible. He said: “I’ll just say that I don’t think it’s a good idea to shut the government down, period. But people are going to posture. And it could happen, it’s happened before … I don’t believe a shutdown’s in my interest, the president’s interest, the people’s interest, either party’s interest … But some people look at it differently.”

The Senior Citizens League urges lawmakers to act responsibly to keep the federal government fully funded so that essential programs like Social Security and Medicare can operate as smoothly as possible. In the days ahead, we will keep a close eye on the evolving negotiations, and we will continue to advocate for legislative solutions that would strengthen and protect your Social Security and Medicare benefits. For updates, follow us on Twitter or visit the Legislative News section of our website every Friday morning.

Four Key Bills Gain Support

This week, The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for four key bills that would improve retirement security in America if adopted.

First, one new cosponsor – Representative Mike Quigley (IL-5) – signed on to the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1205), bringing the total up to 195. If adopted, H.R. 1205 would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two provisions that unfairly reduce the Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, police officers, and other state and local government employees each year. It would ensure that public servants receive the Social Security benefits they have earned and deserve.

Second, one new cosponsor – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) – signed on to the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (H.R. 1776). The cosponsor total is now up to twenty-three. If adopted, this comprehensive bill would require the federal government to negotiate lower Medicare Part D prices, allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, and cap monthly prescription drug expenses at $250, among other things.

Third, one new cosponsor – Senator Kamala Harris (CA) – signed on to the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act (S. 469) this week, bringing the total up to twenty-two. If adopted, S. 469 would reduce prescription drug prices by allowing individuals, pharmacies, and wholesale distributors to safely import prescription drugs from abroad, where they are often much cheaper.

Finally, two new cosponsors – Senator John Hoeven (ND) and Senator Angus King (ME) – signed on to the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act (S. 2387). The cosponsor total is now up to twelve. If adopted, the bill would direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create programs that would promote early identification, improve support for family caregivers, and provide continuous care for those battling many forms of dementia.

The Senior Citizens League enthusiastically supports the four bills mentioned above, and we were pleased to see support grow for them this week. For more information about these and other bills that have been backed by The Senior Citizens League, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.