WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–July 29, 2011. As the U.S. Congress continues its consideration of legislation to grant the federal government additional borrowing authority, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond today sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate urging their support for the Budget Control Act of 2011 introduced in the Senate. AARP members and other older Americans have been urging elected officials in both political parties to not cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of a deal to reduce the federal deficit. The text of Ms. LeaMond’s letter follows:
On behalf of millions of AARP members nationwide and all Americans age 50 and older and their families, we write to urge your support of the Budget Control Act of 2011 introduced by Majority Leader Reid earlier this week. This plan would resolve the current debt ceiling crisis which has created great anxiety among our members, and take steps to reduce our debt without risking benefits for current Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries.
From surveys, town hall meetings, and correspondence, we know older Americans are deeply concerned about the deficit and our nation’s fiscal health. However, they also want to make sure the promises made to them regarding Medicare and Social Security are honored and the safety net of Medicaid is protected. Our members are worried that the benefits they have earned may be cut as part of a deal to reduce the deficit, and they are increasingly worried that if there is no agreement very soon, they may not receive their Social Security checks and may lose access to their health care.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 does not cut Social Security or Medicare to reduce the deficit in order to increase the debt ceiling. It does not impose across-the-board cuts or triggers for reductions in Social Security or Medicare as a condition of increasing the debt ceiling. Critically, it increases the debt ceiling through the end of this Congress, providing our members and other older Americans with a deserved measure of certainty regarding their Social Security checks and access to their health care. Furthermore, it does not premise an additional increase in the debt ceiling on the success of a yet to be formed committee of legislators — a condition that would create great uncertainty for everyone, including our members and other older Americans who would again have no assurance that they could access their retirement income and health care this winter.
Millions of Americans rely heavily, or even completely, on the benefits they earned and receive from Social Security. Equally, millions of older Americans rely on Medicare to meet their critical health care needs. A loss of these benefits would be truly devastating and the well-being of millions of Americans would be put in significant jeopardy. AARP urges you to support the Budget Control Act of 2011, so that a quick resolution to the debt ceiling crisis can be reached without putting at risk the Social Security and Medicare benefits that older Americans have earned and need.
Nancy A. LeaMond
Executive Vice President
State and National Group