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Democratic Caucus Relaunches Task Force on Aging and Families

WASHINGTON - Today, the House Democratic Caucus relaunched and renamed its task force focused on the needs of our nation’s older Americans, their families and future generations looking ahead to retirement. The House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families (formerly known as the Seniors Task Force), reflects an inclusive focus on the needs of caregivers and will also focus on how aging impacts an entire household.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) are returning as Task Force Co-Chairs for the 116th Congress, and are joined by new Co-Chair Congressman Conor Lamb (D-PA). The returning Vice Chairs are Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), who will serve alongside new Vice Chair Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

Many seniors living on limited budgets struggle to pay for health care, long-term care and the high cost of prescription drugs. More people are more afraid of running out of money in retirement than they are of dying, and retirement security is looming as an even larger problem for younger Americans.  Republican proposals to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, voucherize Medicare, block-grant Medicaid and cut Social Security’s earned benefits would make those problems even worse. The Task Force on Aging and Families will serve as a central body to coordinate Caucus engagement with older Americans and champion their priorities. At the end of the year, the Task Force will introduce a resolution known as the “Older Americans Bill of Rights,” which will enshrine the basic rights to which all older Americans are entitled.

The Task Force has been reconstituted out of a recognition that health care and aging costs have a significant economic impact, with economists projecting that health care costs will reach 20 percent of GDP within the next decade, owing in part to our growing older population. TFAF will also consider the infrastructure and human capital required to care for older Americans and ensure they can age with security and independence.

“We live in the greatest nation in the world. No one — particularly our treasured senior citizens — should be forced to make the unthinkable choice between putting food on the table and paying for lifesaving prescription drugs,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries. “Retirement insecurity is not just a concern for older Americans. Too many working people in America are rightfully afraid that a secure retirement will not be on the table for them when the time comes. House Democrats recognize the moral and economic responsibility for bold action to protect our seniors’ dignity, which is why I am proud to help relaunch the Task Force on Aging and Families today. My colleagues involved in this critical effort should be commended for their leadership in this regard.”

“Older Americans have spent their lives working to raise families, pay their taxes, protect our country and build our communities. They earned the right to high quality health care, financial security and safe and livable communities,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “That is why I am proud to continue to serve as a co-chair of the Task Force on Aging and Families. Democrats stand ready to protect older Americans and ensure that they have all the resources they need in retirement. Together, we will work to expand Social Security benefits, lower prescription drug prices, improve Medicare, protect Medicaid, prevent financial exploitation and increase access to affordable housing.” 

“America’s seniors spent a lifetime contributing to our society and economy. They worked hard and earned the right to high-quality care, financial security and livable communities. Yet under the Trump Administration, their rights and benefits have come under attack,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “That’s why I am proud to join my colleagues in launching the House Democrats’ Task Force on Aging and Families. Our goal is to champion the priorities of seniors and their families, highlight the House Democratic Caucus’ successes and lay out a bold path forward to improve the lives of seniors everywhere. I look forward to working with Chairman Jeffries, Congresswoman Schakowsky, Congressman Lamb, and the entire caucus to ensure that all Americans have the resources to live, retire and age with dignity.”

“Western Pennsylvania is home to a growing senior population who face important issues with access to affordable health care, adequate housing, food security and managing their retirement,” said Congressman Lamb.  “We need to work towards common-sense solutions to support seniors as they age, including improving Social Security and reducing prescription drug costs.”

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