Brindisi kicks off national initiative to build support for a plan to protect upstate seniors

Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Congressman’s “Gray New Deal” plan codifies variety of legislative priorities on behalf of older Americans and their families

Congressman Anthony Brindisi, flanked by older Americans and advocates, announced his bold, new agenda to specifically strengthen programs and initiatives that benefit older Americans. Brindisi rolled out his Gray New Deal and highlighted his plan to build momentum to install a policy agenda that guarantees that older Americans can work and retire with dignity. Brindisi also announced that his plan comes on the heels of new and serious concerns related to critical programs older Americans depend on. Brindisi said the “Gray New Deal” agenda provides a policy path for Congress.

“This Gray New Deal is black and white. There are people in Washington that want to gut programs older Americans here in New York need to pay the bills, buy the groceries or afford elder care,” said Brindisi. “With more than 130,000 older Americans in New York’s 22nd district, we are in dire need of legislation and a policy platform that works for this aging generation. The Gray New Deal will serve as a new agenda in Congress and let Washington politicians know that they can’t balance the budget on the backs of older Americans. Strengthening and protecting Social Security and Medicare, bringing down health care costs, expanding caregiver benefits, and defending seniors from scams and fraud is something everyone should be able to get behind.”

Brindisi outlined his agenda including his plan to protect Social Security and Medicare. Residents of New York’s 22nd district receive more than $2.5 million in earned Social Security benefits every year. Additionally, more than 117,000 residents are enrolled in Medicare Part D.

“This plan does more than promise a fight to strengthen and protect Social Security and Medicare, it makes it a requirement” Brindisi added. “Older Americans have paid into these programs all their lives and I will fight to stop Washington politicians from trying to pull the financial rug out from under them.”

In addition to Medicare and Social Security, the Gray New Deal includes legislation aimed to reduce health care costs, protect seniors from scams, improve access to caregivers, and prevent age discrimination.

Local advocates praised Brindisi’s Gray New Deal.

“Congressman Brindisi is a leading voice on issues important to older Americans,” said Whitestown Senior Center Director Bonnie Wnuk. We see him out in our community, visiting senior centers, holding town halls, and fighting to bring down health care costs. The Gray New Deal is a bold policy agenda that will hopefully be a template for Congress on how to make sure older Americans can retire with dignity.”

“I want to thank Congressman Brindisi for leading the charge to create a Gray New Deal,” said Susan Streeter, Executive Director of Copper City Community Connection. “Often times Washington politicians are looking to gut programs like Social Security to save a quick buck and Congressman Brindisi is standing in their way. He listens to older Americans and is in Congress fighting for us.”

Highlights of Brindisi’s Gray New Deal:

After a lifetime of hard work, older Americans have earned the right to age with dignity and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Our district is home to more than 130,000 older Americans. We need to keep our promise to these hard working men and women who have paid a lifetime into programs like Medicare and Social Security. In Congress, Rep. Brindisi is committed to ensuring older Americans have access to affordable health care, are protected from scams and financial fraud, and have the resources and support they need for a dignified retirement. We need a Gray New Deal to keep this promise.

Fighting to Strengthen Social Security and Medicare

Rep. Brindisi is working to preserve, protect, and strengthen Medicare and Social Security. Older Americans have paid into these critical programs all their lives, and Rep. Brindisi will work with members of both parties to protect them. In Congress, he is working to stop Washington politicians from balancing the budget on the backs of older Americans and will continue to fight back against efforts to cut or privatize Medicare and Social Security. He also supports bipartisan legislation to repeal penalties that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of Americans who have devoted much of their careers to public service.

Lowering Health Care Costs For Older Americans

Access to affordable and reliable health care is a top priority for our nation’s older Americans. But many older Americans, many on fixed incomes, are struggling to keep up with the skyrocketing costs of premiums and out of pocket costs on prescription drugs. Rep. Brindisi has a plan to address these issues. He voted to pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies and cap out of pocket costs for the 117,000 older Americans in our community enrolled in Medicare Part D. He also helped introduce bipartisan legislation to bring more generic drugs to the marketplace and crack down on dirty tricks that big pharmaceutical companies use to prevent competition.

Rep. Brindisi also led the charge to repeal the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), a tax on health insurance premiums that would have raised costs for many older Americans. Over 25 percent of the HIT would have fallen on Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, resulting in higher costs and possible reductions to supplemental benefits. In December 2019, Rep. Brindisi’s Jobs and premium Protection Act was signed into law permanently repealing the HIT.

Locking Up Robocallers And Fighting Big Corporations That Rip Off Older Americans

Americans were hit with 26.3 billion robocalls in 2018, a 46 percent increase from the previous year. These calls are more than an annoyance; they can mean serious financial risks for older Americans. Rep. Brindisi secured key provisions from his Locking Up Robocallers Act in historic anti-robocall legislation signed into law by President Trump. He supports bipartisan legislation to create a dedicated working group to enforce the prohibition of robocalls. Rep. Brindisi is also fighting back against big cable companies like Spectrum, which keep raising prices on many older Americans on fixed incomes.

Providing Relief For Family Caregivers And Allowing Older Americans To Age In Place

Family caregivers allow older Americans to age with dignity in their homes. But taking care of a dependent family member can be extremely challenging, and Congress needs to do more to support caregivers. In 2018, Congress took the first steps to recognize and support caregivers by establishing a national family caregiver agenda. As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Brindisi is pushing for swift implementation of the new, expanded Caregiver Program for Pre-9/11 veterans. He also supports bipartisan action to provide more financial support for family caregivers.

Protecting Older Americans from Discrimination

Older Americans are a vital part of the American workforce and our economy. Despite their contributions, more than 60 percent of workers 45 and older have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, 76 percent of older workers feel that age discrimination is a major obstacle to getting a new job. For older Americans who want to keep working, age discrimination threatens their financial security. That’s why Rep. Brindisi voted to pass the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act to restore age discrimination protections to workers over 40. All workers deserve an opportunity to earn a living wage and be treated with respect.

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