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AARP Urges Senate to Pass Amendment Providing Economic Relief For Millions of Older Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2010
CONTACT:
AARP Media Relations, media@aarp.org, (202) 434-2560


AARP Urges Senate to Pass Amendment Providing Economic Relief For Millions of Older Americans

AARP Commends Senator Sanders for Leadership on Important Issue

Washington, DC –AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond today commended Senator Bernie Sanders for introducing an amendment to H.R. 4213, which would provide $250 in economic relief for millions of older Americans, veterans and persons with disabilities who continue to struggle through these difficult economic times. LeaMond’s statement follows:

“For first time in over 30 years, the benefits 57 million retirees, veterans and people with disabilities count on to make ends meet have been frozen. What this means for many is even though they will have to spend more because of the rising cost of prescription drugs and health care, their Social Security checks will remain flat.

“That’s why AARP is urging the Senate to pass an amendment to provide $250 in much-needed economic relief. Older Americans spend 30% or more of their income on health care and these costs are expected to continue to rise again throughout 2010. Further, millions of older Americans with prescription drug coverage are already receiving reduced Social Security checks because of rapidly rising Medicare Part D premiums.

“Providing relief for older Americans will not only help them, it will help boost our economy. Studies show that older Americans are more likely to spend the money they receive than any other age group.

“The Senate must act now and pass this amendment so older Americans can get the relief they need.”

A copy of a letter sent to the senate today follows this statement. For more information, please visit www.aarp.org. The bill is H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009.

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Dear Senator:

On behalf of nearly 40 million members nationwide, AARP would like to express our strong support for the Sanders amendment to H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009, to provide $250 in economic relief to America's seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities. AARP is pleased to endorse this amendment and urges the Senate to approve this much-needed relief.

Like many individuals throughout our country, America's seniors are struggling to make ends meet due to the impact of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Older Americans, however, are facing unique financial difficulties and are acutely impacted by the nation's economic downturn. For instance, although the prices of many goods and services have stagnated or declined, many older Americans do not feel the effects of low inflation in their pocketbooks.

Seniors spend a disproportionate share of their income (about 30 percent on average) on health care costs, which continue to increase at rates well above the rate of overall inflation. The combination of higher health care costs, including prescription drug prices, and a stagnant Social Security benefit in 2010 is particularly troubling and has resulted in lower net Social Security payments to millions of America's seniors.

Moreover, many senior citizens have lost a significant portion of their retirement savings due to the recent downturn. Unlike younger Americans, however, these retirees have less time to make up substantial losses in their retirement savings. The decline in housing prices in many parts of the country may also cause severe difficulties for those seniors who need to tap the equity in their homes in order to fund their retirement.

All of this comes at a time when seniors, who normally count on an annual Social Security increase, did not receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2010. This is the first time since automatic adjustments were originally provided in 1975 that beneficiaries have not received a COLA. Many of these Americans have suffered significant economic harm over the past year and a half and are depending on Congress to provide relief.

As such, AARP urges the Senate to approve the Sanders amendment to H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009, to provide $250 in much-needed economic relief to millions of seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities. If you have any questions, feel free to call me, or please have your staff contact Tom Nicholls of our Government Relations staff at 202-434-3765.

Sincerely,
David P. Sloane
Senior Vice President
Government Relations and Advocacy

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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