I work every day to support seniors and to ensure long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security. As a member of the Expand Social Security Caucus, I work with my colleagues to strengthen Social Security benefits for residents of the 8th District. Since their inception, the Medicare and Social Security programs have assisted seniors with the costs of health care and living. Americans rely on these programs not only for their health and long-term care, but also for everyday expenses. Americans have paid into the system their entire lives anticipating that once they retire, they will be guaranteed the benefits they rightfully deserve. While we must work to increase the efficiency of Medicare and Social Security, we cannot abandon our commitment to those who currently rely on them. I strongly oppose proposals to raise out-of-pocket costs or cut benefits for Medicare and Medicaid or proposals that would reduce Social Security benefits. For more information on the Medicare and Social Security programs please visit: www.medicare.gov and www.socialsecurity.gov.
In fact, for 1 in 4 senior households, Social Security is estimated to represent 90% of income. That is why I have cosponsored bills aimed at improving benefits and addressing the Social Security solvency issue:
- H.R. 860, the Social Security 2100 Act, would increase the minimum benefit amount, change the way benefits are calculated, and strengthens the Social Security Trust Fund.
- H.R. 4280, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2019, would update allowable income amounts, repeal the marriage penalty, and repeals other financial penalties.
- H.R. 141, the Social Security Fairness Act, would repeal the Government pension offset and the windfall elimination provision.
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This week, we unfortunately lost members of our community because of the flooding and intense winds and rains of Tropical Storm Ida. I am very grateful to the brave first responders who provided lifesaving aid to those in need. It will take time to recover from the devastation of this storm, especially for those who have lost friends and family members.
Throughout last week, I watched the developing situation in Afghanistan closely, and my office assisted in evacuation efforts for constituents who have family members in the country. Earlier in the week, the House passed H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Advancing Voting Rights Act and H.Res.601, to begin consideration of the budget resolution.
(Washington, D.C.) – Last week, Congressmen Albio Sires (NJ-08), Jim Langevin (RI-02), Christopher Smith (NJ-04), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion (REAADI) for Disasters Act. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
This week, I spoke in solidarity with the Cuban people who are protesting the Castro/Diaz-Canel dictatorship in Cuba, and thanked President Biden for showing the United States’ clear support for democracy on the island. The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a markup and a hearing where I asked USAID Administrator Samantha Power to do all that is possible to advance critical democracy and human rights programming on the island.
Last week, I voted to pass several important pieces of legislation, including the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, the Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act, the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act, the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act, and the Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act. The House also passed Senate resolutions, S.J.Res.13, S.J.Res.14, and S.J.Res.15 which overturned Trump era rules.
Last week, I voted to make Juneteenth a federal holiday and to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq. I also cosponsored several important pieces of legislation to expand access to education funding, ensure access to food assistance, protect older workers, provide support for caregivers of elderly Americans, assert U.S. leadership in the global equality of those in the LGBTQ+ community, and authorize funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
This week, the House voted on legislation to protect big cats from hostile internment, establish community advantage loan programs to help small businesses, and federally decriminalize marijuana. I also led a letter to House leadership highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the affordable housing crisis in New Jersey and asking them to include relief measures in the next relief package.
Last week, I joined the Congressional Labor Caucus, and cosponsored legislation to raise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) monthly benefits, help ensure children do not go hungry during the pandemic, raise the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021, help students refinance their student loans, and ensure humane treatment of animals in any research and testing.
This week, I joined the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey to discuss affordable housing in the 8th District. I introduced legislation to support our economic partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and cosponsored legislation to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to schools, get surplus computers to our nation’s veterans and students, and reaffirm our commitment to marriage equality.
Last week, I introduced legislation in the House to ensure language access and multilingual materials for all resources coming from federal government. I cosponsored legislation to help struggling independent music venues, provide grants to communities which are struggling with COVID-19, establish proper procedures and policies for nursing homes during the current and future public health emergencies, supporting digital equity, and supporting the people of Artsakh and their right to self-determination.