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Update: Legislation submitted to reestablish the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging – Herb Weiss

Cicilline, Schakowsky & Matsui Reintroduce Legislation to Reestablish the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging 

U.S. Representatives David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and Doris Matsui (CA-06) reintroduced legislation to reestablish the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging to examine the challenges and issues facing the growing aging population in America.

This legislation has been endorsed by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO). The original House Permanent Select Committee on Aging, which was active between 1974 and 1992, conducted investigations, hearings and issues reports to inform Congress on issues related to aging.  

“America’s seniors have spent a lifetime working hard and moving our country forward and they deserve the best in their retirement,” Rep. Cicilline said. “The pandemic has disproportionately impacted seniors and now with growing concerns about inflation, seniors on fixed incomes will bear the burden of the rising cost of prescription drugs, food, housing, and other essentials. There has never been a more urgent time for Congress to reauthorize the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging than right now. Congress must study and address the issues that affect seniors to make sure they can live the rest of their lives with dignity and security.”  

“Every day, 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old. This isn’t a statistic to keep dismissing; it’s a call for action that I have been ringing the alarm on for years,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky. “The pandemic magnified gaps in U.S. policy that routinely forget about Older Americans and the need to nurture a culture that respects them. From the lack of a universal long-term care policy to barriers to vaccine access earlier in the pandemic, these are issues that need to be examined so that Congress can put forward strong solutions to support our aging population and the communities they live in. I am committed to strengthening policies that support our seniors and proud to be a co-lead on this resolution to make it happen.”  

“Older Americans today face many difficulties—including achieving retirement security and affording the rising costs in health care and prescription drugs—which have only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “They have worked hard their entire lives to contribute to our economy, care for our families and enrich our communities. By creating a Select Committee on Aging in the House, we can continue to strengthen and support policies that are important to seniors throughout the country. I am proud to co-lead the resolution to create this committee, and I look forward to continuing to fight for the priorities of Older Americans that gives them the fundamental rights that they deserve.”  

In 1974, the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging was established the purpose of “advising Congress and the American people on how to meet the challenge of growing old in America.” Although the committee did not have legislative authority, it played a critical role in raising awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease and elder abuse. The committee helped pass nursing home reforms, which helped reduce elder abuse at senior care facilities. Reestablishing the select committee would allow Congress to study and address longstanding issues including Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs, and long-term care as well as other issues that didn’t exist in the past, including online scams which target vulnerable and unsuspecting seniors.

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On April 20th, Herb Weiss, a writer on aging issues for RINewsToday published a piece about the history of the Commission on Aging and the possibility that the move that happened this week would, in fact happen.

You can read the complete article, here:

https://rinewstoday.com/congressman-cicilline-poised-for-legacy-as-next-fiery-advocate-on-aging/

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Herb Weiss, LRI ’12, is a Pawtucket covering aging, healthcare, and medical issues. To purchase Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, a collection of 79 of his weekly commentaries, go to herbweiss.com

1 Comment

  1. Robert Weiner on August 14, 2021 at 12:40 am

    From Robert Weiner, former Chief of Staff, House Aging Committee under Chairman Claude Pepper, also spokesman for Four-Star Gen. barry McCaffrey, and the House Narcotics and Government Operations committees, as well as aide to Ed Koch, and Sen. Ted Kennedy:

    Congratulations Herb and thank you for your badly needed advocacy!

    Congressman Cicilline’s legislation to recreate the House Select Committee on Aging is necessary for Congress to avoid the lack of transparency ever again by nursing homes and political leaders that caused thousands of deaths — seniors’ nursing homes and congregate housing were half of all deaths during Covid’s massive initial rise. Recreating the Aging committee is also necessary to protect against under-the-radar political invasions of Social Security’s surplus — a fund paid by seniors in the program– and attempts to use the money to pay for other programs including tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Having worked for decades in Congress and the White House and since then in the national media, I can attest that only by personal compulsive leadership will this bill be passed. Cong. Pepper personally verbally reached President Carter and First Lady Rosalyn, the leaders of the House and Senate, and the chairs of the relevant legislative committees to pass the mandatory retirement bill. When the White House legislative liaison stonewalled on mandatory retirement, he called Roselyn Carter who said, “”I’d be happy to talk to Jimmy” to set up a meeting. The meeting happened, with the entire full committee, at which Carter endorsed the bill, followed later by a glorious bill signing.

    Congressman Cicilline needs to speak directly, personally, with leaders Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn, tell them the coalition of Aging organizations endorses the bill, it’s necessary to assure transparency and following the law to never again victimize the elderly with massive deaths in nursing homes in a preventable health care crisis like Covid, and to assure Social Security is never raided.

    The House Aging Committee was and can again be the protector of seniors. Among its most significant actions — all bipartisan– were advocating and causing enactment of the law, passed 359-2 in the House and 89-10 in the Senate, barring age based mandatory retirement and protecting people over 40 from age discrimination. The courts are now fudging with that clear intent, and the House Aging Committee would be a visible and influential protector. Transparency by nursing homes and congregate housing settings– as mandated by laws pressed by Pepper decades ago but now ignored — would be another benefit. In housing, health care, nutrition, crime victimization, transportation, accessibility, and social services –in the whole array of actions stopping ageism by local, state, and federal agencies and the courts, including the Supreme Court — the House Aging Committee would again be an invaluable champion for seniors.

    One other fact to remember– seniors have traditionally been the highest turnout age group in elections.

    Regards,

    Bob Weiner, former Chief of Staff, House Aging Committee, under Chairman Claude Pepper, former spokesman, Clinton and Bush White House Drug Policy Offices, and staff for 4-Star Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Congressmen Ed Koch, Charles Rangel, Charles Rangel, and Sen. Edward Kennedy
    301-283-0821/202-306-1200