Our district is home to many seniors who deserve our respect and support. It’s our responsibility as a society to keep our promises to those who have spent their lives contributing to our communities. While working, seniors paid into Social Security and Medicare and they are entitled to receive the benefits they have earned. The GOP would like you to think Social Security and Medicare are give-aways; they are not, they have been earned. Throughout my entire career, I’ve fought for the rights and benefits of our seniors deserve. However, in that time I’ve seen key senior benefits programs, namely Social Security and Medicare, under constant assault by GOP lawmakers who favor privatization, or benefits going to a smaller and smaller number of people.

Among my greatest priorities is ensuring that seniors stay out of poverty. One of the keys to achieving this is the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), an annual percentage adjustment to Social Security payouts made to counteract the effects of inflation. This adjustment is tied to the percentage change in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W); however, this method of calculating the COLA is antiquated which has resulted in paltry to barely adequate changes in recent years. In 2019, the COLA will increase 2.8%, an insufficient number which is sadly the highest increase since 2012. To ensure a steady, reliable increase to Social Security payouts to seniors, I’ve introduced the Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act. Not only does this set the floor for the COLA increase to 3%, but it will also update the formula that the government uses to calculate it, strengthening the safety net for our seniors even farther.

The second key element of protecting our seniors is to ensure the long-term well-being of Medicare. One of my proudest moments in Congress was when I was able to cast my vote in favor of passing the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which, among a number of things, made Medicare beneficiaries eligible to receive many free preventive services such as flu shots or mammograms for free, lowered prescription drug prices, lowered Medicare Part B premiums, and expanded overall benefits. Since that day, the ACA has been under constant assault by the GOP, and they’ve even voted to repeal it over 70 times. Protecting the ACA and the benefits it provides to seniors and millions more Americans remains a top priority for me and my Democratic colleagues.

But the GOP assault has targeted not just Medicare, but also Medicaid, which is the single greatest provider of long-term elder care in the United States. In fact, Medicaid is the only long-term care option that many low-income seniors have. Medicare, for all the good it does, does not cover long-term care. The battle with the GOP over better senior care has been a long and contentious one, but, so long as I’m in Congress, I will keep fighting.