AARP, in a letter expressing its opposition to the Spending Control Act of 2004 (H.R.3973) and a number of potential amendments, called the proposed new budget rules seriously flawed and urged House members to reject any entitlement caps that would jeopardize the health and economic security of millions of vulnerable Americans.
AARP is especially concerned about the effects of the budget enforcement provisions contained in the bill on important programs that serve older Americans and those of modest means.
AARP has historically supported balanced pay-as-you-go budget enforcement rules. However, the rules established by H.R. 3973 and several proposed amendments apply only to spending and not to revenues.
Many domestic programs serving vulnerable populations that are subject to annual appropriations have been frozen or reduced in recent years. Further funding reductions mandated by the unrealistically low caps in H.R. 3973 will result in unacceptable cuts in services provided to those with the greatest need.
AARP opposes other budget process bills such as H.R. 3800 and H.R. 3925 which include provisions that could cap spending on entitlements in such a way that Medicare Parts B and D, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, health benefits for retired military personnel, and other programs could be subject to sequestration in the near future.
In particular, the new Medicare prescription drug program would be subject to sequestration as early as 2006. This could have a serious effect on the ability to implement the new drug law and on the ability of older Americans to purchase affordable prescription drugs.