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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

health care

Washington Review June 14, 2013

Jun 14, 2013
Washington Review

This is a very critical time in Congress; student loan interest rates are set to double on July 1st, and Medicare and Social Security are in danger of damaging and unreasonable cuts. As we work to reduce the deficit, we must be careful that we do so wisely while protecting those who cannot afford it. I encourage you to continue reading to learn more about the work I’ve done to address these issues.

This week I met with members from AARP New Jersey to discuss the work they do on behalf of seniors across the state, as well as the importance of preserving Medicare and Social Security during deficit reduction negotiations.  I believe that we need to reduce our deficit in a responsible manner, but it should not be done on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.  I strongly oppose recent proposals to tie cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries to something called a Chained CPI (consumer price index).  The Social Security actuary has estimated that switching to a Chained CPI formula would significantly reduce Social Security benefits for seniors. 

A wiser way to work to reduce costs in the Medicare and Social Security programs would be to focus our attention on reducing waste, fraud, and abuse within the programs.  To this end, I recently joined as a cosponsor of H.R. 2305 to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare program.  Curbing such issues within the Medicare system is a beneficial way to help lower the cost of Medicare without cutting benefits to seniors.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with eighth grade students from Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva School in Edison, New Jersey. We discussed the legislative process, as well as the importance of higher education. It is critical that America’s youth continue to become college educated in order to assume roles as national and global leaders. Unfortunately, with rising costs in tuition and student loan interest rates, college is becoming a more difficult option. We need to do everything we can to ensure that college remains affordable for students and families. This week I joined my Democratic colleagues in signing a discharge petition, urging the House Leadership to bring up H.R. 1595, the Student Loan Relief Act of 2013. This bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the freeze on subsidized student loan interest rates for two years. Immediate action is necessary to protect college students, given the short time remaining before rates double on July 1st.

In matters of foreign affairs, I joined my colleagues, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), in writing to the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, to investigate Cuban dissident leader, Oswaldo Paya’s death.   Mr. Paya’s nonviolent efforts to seek political reform in Cuba were world renowned.  Mr. Paya, alongside his fellow organizer, Harold Cepero Escalante, we killed in a car crash suspected to have been caused by Cuban security forces on July 22, 2012.   

On Wednesday June 12, 2013, I met with the Center for a Free Cuba and discussed the stranglehold the Cuban regime continues to maintain over the Cuban people.  I was honored to join my colleagues, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and be recognized by the Center for our continued efforts to promote freedom in Cuba.

Thank you for reading my Washington Review. I look forward to continuing to provide you with updates from Washington. In the meantime, please visit my Facebook and Twitter accounts for daily happenings. 

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