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Government Watch 2019 Financial Security and Consumer Affairs Archive Skip to content

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2019 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.

July

L: On July 17, 2019 AARP sent a letter endorsing H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act to Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Chairman Michael Doyle and Ranking Member Robert Latta of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.  AARP has a long history of fighting for protections for older Americans, and believes this bill will help diminish illegal robocalls – a rich playground for scammers to deceive victims into paying money under false pretense. (PDF)

June

L: On June 28, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) endorsing S. 788, the Equality Act.  All people have the fundamental right to be free from discrimination. The Equality Act provides equal treatment under the law for LGBT individuals by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. (PDF)

L: On June 24, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) endorsing the Digital Equity Act of 2019.  This legislation will establish a State Digital Capacity Grant Program within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to support and build capacity for digital inclusion—activities needed to ensure that individuals have full access to and use of affordable information and communication technologies. The Act will also include a Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program within NTIA to support digital inclusion initiatives pursued by eligible organizations.  (PDF)

C: On June 21, 2019 AARP submitted a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in response to a request for comments on the strengths and weaknesses of different price indexes, as well as how different indexes might affect the estimation of the Official Poverty Measure (OPM).   AARP is concerned that adjusting poverty thresholds with an index other than the current CPI-U may adversely affect poor and near-poor individuals, and may eventually negatively impact cost-of-living adjustments for some 60 million Social Security beneficiaries.  (PDF)

L: On June 20, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Mark Warner (D-VA) of the Senate Health Extenders Task Force urging them to reinstate and permanently extend the 7.5 percent income threshold for the medical expense deduction, which expired at the end of 2018. Extension of this threshold will provide important financial protection for all taxpayers with high heath care costs.  (PDF)

L: On June 20, 2019, AARP sent a letter to U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and U.S. House Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Chairman Mike Thompson thanking them for including the restoration of the 7.5 percent income threshold for the medical expense deduction in the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019.  The medical expense deduction provides important tax relief that helps offset the cost of acute and chronic medical conditions for older Americans, children, and individuals with disabilities. (PDF)

L: On June 10, 2019 AARP along with 24 other organization sent a coalition letter to Chairman Bobby Scott and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor urging all Committee Members to vote to support H.R. 1230, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), sponsored by Chairman Scott and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).  POWADA is bipartisan, limited legislation to restore fairness and well-established legal standards on workplace discrimination that were undermined by certain court decisions. (PDF)

S: On June 5, 2019 AARP provided a statement on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval of “Regulation Best Interest” and its final three-part rule on the standards of conduct applicable to financial professionals and related disclosure form.  “AARP is alarmed by the outcome of SEC’s rule-making today on the standards of conduct for financial professionals. Often described as an important opportunity to protect Americans saving for retirement, the new rule does not strengthen investor protections, nor does it improve the quality of advice upon which investors rely.” (PDF)

May

L: On May 22, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives expressing support for the SECURE Act.  The SECURE Act contains a number of provisions that will improve both access and levels of coverage in employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. The  legislation would enhance tax credits for employers that offer retirement plans with automatic enrollment and encourage more adequate deferral amounts. (PDF)

C: On May 21, 2019 AARP submitted a letter to the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor providing comments for a proposed rule titled “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.”  Overbroad federal exemptions from the requirement to pay overtime wages for overtime work mean that millions of workers – many of whom are older workers – are denied this fundamental protection, producing not only lower levels of economic security for workers and their families, but also lower levels of retirement savings and income security when those workers retire.  In its comments, AARP urged the Department to withdraw or substantially modify its proposals to significantly narrow the scope of workers eligible for overtime protections (2019 Proposal) relative to the Department of Labor’s 2016 changes to the overtime rules (2016 Rule).  (PDF)

S: On May 21, 2019 Laurie McCann, Senior Attorney with AARP Foundation submitted written and oral testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor for a hearing entitled “Eliminating Barriers to Employment:  Opening Doors to Opportunity.”  The testimony focuses on older workers and how they continue to face numerous obstacles to employment, barriers that cannot be fully addressed in one hearing, and in particular on the most significant barrier older workers face, which is age discrimination. (PDF)    

C: On May 15, 2019 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau providing comments on the Bureau’s re-consideration of its rule governing payday, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.  AARP finds that older adults face increasing financial challenges as they age, and are poorly served by lending practices that threaten their financial livelihoods at a time when they are least able to rebound from shortfalls.  (PDF)

S: On May 14, 2019 Joan Ruff, AARP Board Chair submitted written and oral testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance for a hearing entitled “Challenges in the Retirement System” on behalf of AARP.  The policy solutions AARP Board Chair Joan Ruff presented focused on  a) successful state retirement programs; b) federal policies to expand coverage and increase savings, including coverage of part-time workers and improving the Savers Credit, and c) federal policies to protect savings, including fiduciary advice and meaningful disclosures.  (PDF)

L: On May 8, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. House Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) endorsing the Stop Senior Scams Act.  The Act would establish a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Council that would collect and publish educational materials and information on model programs that may be used by retailers, financial services, and wire-transfer companies as a guide to prevent scams that target senior citizens. (PDF)

April

L: On April 30, 2019 AARP sent two letters to the U.S. House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services expressing concerns with respect to programs that are critical to the well-being of millions of older Americans, as the subcommittees prepare to markup the FY 2020 appropriations bills.  While appreciative of the Committee’s steadfast support of the many programs important to older Americans in the FY 2019 bill, AARP remains concerned regarding repeated proposals for elimination or deep reductions in spending in the Administration’s budget request.  AARP urged the Committees to continue to make smart investments in programs that help ensure older Americans and persons with disabilities can live independently with dignity as they age.  (Senate - PDF) (House - PDF)

L: On April 19, 2019 AARP sent a letter of endorsement to U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Edward Markey (D-MA) for the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.  This Act will expand the powers of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties against robocallers, require service providers to adopt the current state-of-the-art call authentication technology, and promote interagency cooperation to address the robocall problem. (PDF)

L: On April 9, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Ranking Member Patty Murray of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions expressing support for several provisions of the BE HEARD Act.  The Act will strengthen protections for older workers against age-based harassment and other forms of age discrimination. (PDF)

L: On April 4, 2019 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA) and Kenny Merchant (R-TX) thanking them for introducing H.R. 2073, legislation to permanently extend the 7.5 percent income threshold for the medical expense deduction. In the letter, AARP expressed that every effort should be made to keep the threshold for the deduction as low as possible to help protect those with high medical costs. (PDF)

L: On April 1, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means in support of the Substitute Amendment of the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act).  The SECURE Act enhances tax credits to employers who offer retirement plans with automatic enrollment and encourages adequate deferral amounts. It will also permit employers to join together and create what are known as multiple employer pension plans – a single plan in which a pooled provider will assume the primary fiduciary duties, making it easier for smaller employers to offer automatic savings through a pooled plan that offers low cost investment savings to workers and their families. (PDF)

March

L: On March 26, 2019 AARP sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7).  This bill would strengthen financial security for women both while in the workforce and later in retirement, and it would provide an important protection for all workers against age discrimination in hiring. (PDF)

L: On March 19, 2019 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, and to Chairman Bobby Scott of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor supporting H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act.  The Act would provide low cost loans to eligible multiemployer pension plans to enable them to continue to pay earned pensions to retirees and fund their long term pension commitments. (PDF)

C: On March 15, 2019 AARP submitted written comments to Jay Clayton, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in response to a request for comment on updated disclosure requirements and summary prospectus for variable annuity and variable life insurance contracts.  AARP was pleased to have the chance to be a part of this process and intends to play an active role in educating and engaging all Americans to help them make informed investment decisions that will impact their financial security. (PDF)    

S: On March 14, 2019 Lee Baker, CFP® and AARP Georgia State President provided written and oral testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets.  The hearing entitled “Putting Investors First?  Examining the SEC’s Best Interest Rule” will cover the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed Regulation Best Interest and Customer Relationship Summary disclosure form. (PDF)

S: On Tuesday, March 12, 2019 AARP Board Chair Joan Ruff submitted oral and written testimony to the House Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee for a hearing entitled Protecting and Improving Social Security:  Enhancing Social Security to Strengthen the Middle Class.  On behalf of AARP, Ms. Ruff expressed appreciation for the opportunity to testify on some of the significant issues surrounding the current and future state of retirement security of American workers and their families, and more broadly, on the important contributions Social Security makes to families, beyond providing the critical foundation of retirement income for Americans. (PDF)