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.
“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.