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Americans should be able to age with dignity

May is Older Americans Month. Thinking about the contributions of seniors reinforces the importance of programs like Social Security and Medicare.

These popular programs have been around for several decades. Congress passed the Social Security Act in 1935. Over the years, it has become a crucial source of financial support for millions of Americans, providing them with a regular income during their golden years.

Currently, about nine out of ten seniors rely on Social Security benefits to meet their financial needs. These monthly benefits help cover essential expenses like housing, food, and health care.

In 1965, Medicare further strengthened the social safety net for older Americans. Medicare serves as a crucial health care lifeline, providing comprehensive coverage for more than 60 million Americans. As the primary health care insurance for older adults, it gives access to a wide range of medical services, preventive care, and prescription medications.

Some people call these programs "entitlements;" I call them earned benefits that allow seniors to age with dignity.

Of course, there is more we must do to support older Americans. About nine million seniors in America struggle with food insecurity, 15 million live in isolation, and 18 million live near or below the poverty line.

During my time in Congress, I've led the effort – twice – to update the Senior Nutrition Program (which funds Meals on Wheels) and strengthen the existing social safety net for people who need it. I'm committed to advocating for seniors wherever and whenever I can.

Once again, many Republicans are proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Although public pressure has made them stop directly targeting the programs, we still see attacks on vulnerable older Americans with demands for cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels. And the Republicans' refusal to cleanly raise the debt ceiling has put millions of Americans' Social Security and Medicare benefits at risk.

In Congress, I'll continue to fight Republican obstructionism and advocate for policies and programs that will help every older American thrive and age with dignity.

Thank you for standing with me,


Posted on May 21, 2023.

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Meet Suzanne

Suzanne knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet. She worked her way through community college, university, and law school. She started her career at Legal Aid and worked as a consumer rights attorney. Throughout her career she’s been a leading advocate for public education, protecting the environment, and civil rights. She’s fighting for a better future for all Oregonians.

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