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2012 Archives: Financial Security and Consumer Affairs

AARP correspondence to lawmakers and regulators

The following documents related to consumer affairs and the financial security of people 50-plus are presented in reverse chronological order.

NOVEMBER

L: AARP sent a letter to all Members of the Senate and House reiterating our opposition to adopting a chained consumer price index to calculate the Social Security cost of living adjustment for the purpose of reducing the deficit. (November 8) Senate PDF & House PDF

L: AARP sent a letter to Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture for the United States Department of Agriculture thanking the agency for partnering with so many of our volunteers and staff in addressing the immeasurable devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. AARP urged the Department to sustain its current efforts and make available certain administrative exceptions where necessary to ensure that the most vulnerable persons and families can have access to essential nutrition. (November 7) PDF

L: On November 08, 2012 AARP sent a letter to members of Congress and the President opposing the deficit proposal that would reduce Social Security benefits by adopting the Chained Consumer Price Index (CCPI). In the letter AARP CEO A. Barry Rand states “Reducing Social Security benefits by moving to a chained consumer price index (CCPI) – estimated to take $112 billion dollars out of the pockets of current and future Social Security beneficiaries in the next 10 years alone – is inappropriate and unwarranted.” Rand also adds that “Social Security is not the cause of our current large budget deficits. In fact, as you know, Social Security is a self-financed, off-budget program and any reduction in Social Security does nothing to address the shortfall in the rest of the federal budget.” (Nov. 8) PDF

C: To the CFBP regarding its request for information on “Effective Financial Education”, to help consumers make better-informed financial decisions. (Nov. 1) PDF

OCTOBER

L: Sign on letter to the Department of Transportation regarding development of several performance measures specified in MAP-21 for roads designated as part of the National Highway System, safety, congestion, and freight. (Oct. 25) PDF

AUGUST

L: Letter to Richard Cordray, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection regarding consumer use of reverse mortgages. (Aug. 31) PDF

JULY

C: To a CFPB “Proposed Procedural Rules to Establish Supervisory Authority over Certain Nonbank Covered Persons based upon Risk Determination” (July 24) PDF

C: To the CFPB notice of proposed rulemaking on “Electronic Fund Transfer (Regulation E) related to Prepaid Cards.” Our comments address significant concerns that have been raised regarding high fees, hidden costs, and inadequate disclosures. (July 23) PDF

C: To the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s request regarding the Department’s attempt to gather information on the interrelationship of self-funded health plans and stop-loss insurance, and the impact of these plan designs on the private health insurance market. (July 2) PDF

JUNE

C: To the CFPB regarding the impacts of overdraft programs on consumers. (June 29) PDF

C: To the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in response to a request for information regarding scope, methods, and data sources for conducting a study of pre-dispute arbitration agreements. (June 22) PDF

C: Comment letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommending enforcement priorities related to protecting older workers from age discrimination. (June 19) PDF

L: Letter to Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) supporting her amendment to maintain and protect funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as the Senate begins floor consideration of the Farm Bill reauthorization. (June 6) PDF

MAY

L: Sign on letter to the Transportation Conferees calling for the retention of the Senate-passed Cardin-Cochran amendment provision that gives local grants for pedestrian safety and other projects. (May 30) PDF

L: Sign on letter to the Transportation Conferees addressing provisions for older driver and pedestrian safety in the Highway Safety Improvement Program. (May 23) PDF

L: To the Senate expressing concerns with the budgets being considered for debate. (May 16) PDF

L: To the House expressing concerns with the reconciliation proposal pursuant to the FY 2013. (May 10) PDF

L: To transportation conferees about retaining several Senate provisions, including prioritizing the repair of existing roads and bridges, and local control over funds that can be used for pedestrian and bicycle projects (the Cardin-Cochran amendment). (May 14) PDF

L: To transportation conferees, the letter calls for conferees to adopt several Senate transit provisions, including restricting the merger of smaller transit programs to only Section 5310 elderly and disabled program and the New Freedom (Section 5317) program, and new eligibility for operating assistance under the new Section 5310 program. (May 10) PDF

S: Before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Development to defend the validity of the federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program (HECM) that provides funding and insurance for reverse mortgages under specified conditions, and subject to consumer protections including counseling.  (May 9) PDF

L: To the House and Senate expressing our belief that the Social Security payroll tax holiday should not be extended beyond the current year. (May 7) PDF

APRIL

S: To the House Ways and Means Committee regarding the hearing on “Impact of Limitations on the Use of Tax-Advantaged Accounts for the Purchase of Over-the-Counter Medication.” (April 25) PDF

C: To the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) request for comment regarding payday lending. (April 23) PDF

C: To the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in response to the agency’s study regarding financial literacy among investors. (April 20) PDF

L: To Chairman Gallegly (R) and Ranking Member Lofgren (D) of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement in reference to its hearing titled “Document Fraud in Employment Authorization: How an E-Verify Requirement Can Help.” (April 18) PDF

L: To Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi in support of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) current guidance on electronic disclosure of pension plan documents. The letter is in response to an industry letter urging that plans be permitted to handle all communications in electronic form, without any standards for ensuring participants retain a meaningful opportunity to choose written disclosures. AARP filed comments last summer in response to a request for information from DOL on this issue. This letter follows up on and reinforces that previous correspondence. (April 17) PDF

C: To the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in response to a proposed rulemaking titled, “Defining Larger Participants in Certain Consumer Financial Products and Services Markets.” (April 17) PDF

MARCH

S: To the Senate Banking Committee’s Economic Policy Subcommittee, a statement for the record of its hearing titled, "Retirement (in)Security: Examining the Retirement Saving Deficit." (March 28) PDF

L: To all members of the House of Representatives regarding our concerns with the House Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. (March 21) PDF

C: To the Department of Labor (DOL) generally in support of requiring most employers of home care and home health aides to be paid minimum wage and overtime for the invaluable work they do to enable older adults to stay in their homes. The letter also identifies key points on which AARP advocates changes to make the regulations more user-friendly and more responsive to the needs of care consumers and their family caregivers. (March 21) PDF

L: To all House and Senate Chiefs of Staff, Health Legislative Aides and Social Security Legislative Aides to inform them of the “You’ve Earned a Say” launch on March 19. (March 15) PDF

L: To the Senate in opposition to the lack of investor protections in H.R. 3606, the House-passed JOBS bill. We also urge for the support of an amendment offered by Senators Reed (D-RI), Landrieu (D-LA) and Levin (D-MI). (March 15) PDF

L: To Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Grassley (R-IA), plus Sen. Leahy (D-VT), to endorse S. 2189 "Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act," a bipartisan bill that will abrogate the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. (March 13) PDF

L: To Senate Leadership that expressed AARP's concern with two bills in a package of proposed legislation that purported to enhance small-business capital formation and hence promote job creation. We express reservations over the lessening of certain consumer protections to achieve this objective. The bills involve precautions in the initial offerings of stock in small companies that do not receive the same oversight as larger offering, an area that has been particularly troubling to seniors in the past. (March 6) PDF

FEBRUARY

L: To the Chairs and Ranking Members of the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee expressing opposition to an amendment to the Senate transportation authorization bill by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) that would eliminate the national standard for the retro-reflectivity of traffic signs. (Feb. 20) PDF

L: To the Rules Committee to make in order four amendments offered by Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Russ Carnahan (D-MO) that include elements of the just-introduced House companion bill (HR 4028) to the Sen. Kohl (D-WI)-sponsored and AARP-endorsed “Senior Transportation and Mobility Improvement Act.” (Feb. 14) PDF

L: To all Senators in support of the National Surface Transportation and Freight Policy Act section of the Commerce bill, which contains a complete streets provision. (Feb. 14) PDF

L: To Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Cochran (R-MS) in support of an amendment that directs funding to local governments for pedestrian and bicycle complete streets-type projects. (Feb. 13) PDF

L: To the Chairs of the Conference Committee urging them to include, in any Conference Committee agreement, legislation to address the impending Medicare physician payment cuts, support a “clean” extension of unemployment insurance benefit, and oppose several elements of the House bill that would disproportionately hurt older workers. (Feb. 13) PDF

L: To the House Ways and Means Committee opposing the removal of transit funding from the motor fuels tax in the House Ways and Means Committee transportation finance bill. (Feb. 2) PDF

JANUARY

C: To Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the proposal "Disparate Impacts of the Federal Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard." (Jan. 17) PDF

T: To the Senate Banking Committee’s Economic Policy Subcommittee, a statement for the record of its hearing titled, "Retirement (in)Security: Examining the Retirement Saving Deficit." (March 28) PDF

L: To Senate Leadership that expressed AARP's concern with two bills in a package of proposed legislation that purported to enhance small-business capital formation and hence promote job creation. We express reservations over the lessening of certain consumer protections to achieve this objective. The bills involve precautions in the initial offerings of stock in small companies that do not receive the same oversight as larger offering, an area that has been particularly troubling to seniors in the past. (March 6) PDF

L: To Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Cochran (R-MS) in support of an amendment that directs funding to local governments for pedestrian and bicycle complete streets-type projects. (Feb. 13) PDF

L: To the Chairs of the Conference Committee urging them to include, in any Conference Committee agreement, legislation to address the impending Medicare physician payment cuts, support a “clean” extension of unemployment insurance benefit, and oppose several elements of the House bill that would disproportionately hurt older workers. (Feb. 13) PDF

L: To the House Ways and Means Committee opposing the removal of transit funding from the motor fuels tax in the House Ways and Means Committee transportation finance bill. (Feb. 2) PDF

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