Saturday, December 17, 2011

Elder Belle's Blessing: Congressional Progressive Caucus

(Photo by Patrice Carlton and published at National Geographic.)

The Progressive Congressional Caucus is the latest recipient of this award, given to people who have gone out of their way to enhance the health and well-being of elders. Thanks to Ronnie Bennett at Time Goes By, I learned of the CPC's efforts in proposing a real jobs bill, one that also protects Social Security and shores up Medicare. Here is part of Ronni's summary:

On Tuesday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus led by its chairman, Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, introduced H.R. 3638, the Restore the American Dream for the 99 Percent Act.

The Economic Policy Institute says the bill would create 5 million jobs over the next two years and reduce the budget deficit by $2 trillion over the next decade.

H.R.3638 contains the kinds of provisions that would get the country moving forward again. You know, stuff Congress should have been enacting during these past four years instead of lining the pockets of the already rich while American family budgets are circling the drain. And it aligns with much that the #occupy movement has brought to the nation's attention.

What follows this introduction is a summary of the various provisions of H.R.3638, so click on the link to Time Goes By for the details. Then follow the links provided by Ronnie, and check out the press release from the CPC which will lead you to even more specifics on the bill.

The provisions which directly affect elders are summarized deftly by Ronni:


• Public option: allowing a public option to operate with private in the health care exchanges saves $88 billion

• Negotiate drug prices: allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical saves $156 billion

• Enhancing Medicaid rates: the fastest way to support state governments would be to restore the increased federal Medicaid matching rates

• Scrapping Social Security cap: Social Security by law cannot contribute to the deficit; however people making over $106,800 do not pay taxes on the additional income. To ensure long-term solvency, this requires anyone making over $250,000 to pay the normal social security tax on their upper income.

It's not just these provisions which affect elders, however. Putting the country back to work and providing the nation with a sane economic policy affects us as well. We have families, and we want our children and grandchildren, as well as our friends and neighbors, to do well now and in the future.

The CPC and we have a rough road ahead in getting this bill passed in both houses of Congress, but we can move in that direction by contacting our representatives and senators urging them to do the right thing for a change. All of the nostrums we've been sold the past decades have failed us miserably. Now it's our turn.

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