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AARP Advocacy Team Gets Ready for 2024

Key issues targeted to help older Americans


spinner image collage of united states capitol building dome with a social security card prescription drugs a shield for security and paper money
YAN OLBRYSH

With a presidential election looming next year, the difficult job of pressing state and federal political leaders to take steps to protect and enhance the lives of older Americans won’t get any easier for AARP’s advocacy team.

But the team welcomes the challenge and has detailed plans for fighting for people 50-plus over the coming months in meetings with Congress, federal regulatory officials and local lawmakers through our state offices.

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“Things do get a little harder in an election year as we get closer to November. But honestly, in politics today, the election season is kind of never-ending,” says Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president of government affairs. “Politicians have been thinking about the 2024 election since before the 2022 election. That said, the issues AARP is working on are commonsense kitchen-table issues that appeal to people on all sides.”

AARP is able to push for the interests of older Americans with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Sweeney says. And the organization’s huge and engaged membership is an ace in the hole. “We’re proud to be a nonpartisan organization at a time when our [nation’s] politics are more partisan than ever,” he says. “As we look ahead to next year, the keys to our success will continue to be our volunteers and members who raise their voices and join the fight.”

Here are details of AARP’s recent lobbying efforts and areas of focus for the coming year.

Social Security Customer Service: For years, Congress has underfunded Social Security’s customer service, leading to record-long wait times when you call or apply for disability benefits, Sweeney says. AARP called on Congress to fully fund the agency’s operating budget and to ensure the agency uses those dollars to improve customer service.

Securing Financial Futures: Nearly 57 million Americans lack access to retirement-savings plans at work. AARP has advocated to help pass laws in 19 states that expand access to those plans. AARP continues to fight at the state and federal levels to make sure everyone in America has the opportunity to save for retirement via a workplace program.

Lowering Drug Costs: AARP was one of the leading advocates for the new federal prescription drug law to help reduce high drug prices. And AARP will continue that work as the law is phased in over the next two years. Already this year, seven laws have passed in state legislatures around the country that help lower drug prices.

Protecting Your Money: AARP has successfully pushed for law changes in several states that crack down on a shady real estate practice that can lock unsuspecting older Americans into long-term agreements that make it tough to sell their homes. And AARP lobbied for laws that lower property taxes and stop unfair utility rate increases.

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Age Discrimination: Most older adults have seen or faced age discrimination on the job, surveys show. AARP is pushing Congress to crack down on discriminatory practices, such as forcing workers into unfair arbitration and demanding that job applicants provide their age or other age-revealing data.

Caregiving: AARP is at the forefront of ­efforts to persuade Congress and state lawmakers to pass laws that help family care­givers, whether through awarding tax credits, cutting red tape or improving ­coordination across government and private health care systems.

Social Security and Medicare: AARP worked hard to keep Social Security and Medicare off the chopping block during the debt ceiling debate this year in Congress, and we will continue to work to protect and strengthen these programs for generations to come.

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