05 May 2009

Seniors Gain Influence in Congress

Marking May as Senior Citizen's Month, the Alliance for Retired Americans has released a comprehensive report detailing the voting record of every U. S. Senator and Representative on key issues affecting Americans 50-years and older.

According to the grassroots activist group's President, Barbara J. Easterling, last year's (2008) voting record showed a continuation of a pro-senior trend which began in 2006. "There were more perfect scores on the voting record this year with fewer zeroes," she said.

"This indicates a higher commitment to improve health cars, strengthen Medicare, and put seniors ahead of drug and insurance companies," she continued.

The document examines 10 key Senate and House votes in 2008, showing the roll calls on issues ranging from stopping Social Security privatization to fully funding the low-income energy assistance program. A number of votes dealt with Medicare, including the override, of Bush's veto of a bill making improvements to Medicare such as providing preventive and mental health benefits and adjusting the asset tests so that more low income beneficiaries can receive help.

In the Senate: 58 members received passing grades (higher than 60%), with 47, including then Senator Obama, achieving perfect scores of 100% and 42 receiving failing grades, with only Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) scoring zero! Senator McCain (R-AZ) was absent for all ten votes included in the tally.

In the House: 259 members received passing grades, with 197 scoring perfect 100s, and 42 receiving failing grades, and 14 receiving scores of zero. One seat was vacant during the votes included in the tally.

Those of us laboring the senior activism vineyards see in this analysis a reason for hope that we can now achieve positive change for all 50 and older Americans. It is now up to each of us, you and I, all of us, to stay informed, keep engaged, organize and mobilize to the extent of our individual abilities, whether by attending rallies, holding house parties, joining letter or phone campaigns, or merely sharing our concerns and interests with friends and family.

Click here and follow the prompts to read in detail the full report and to see how your Senators and representative scored.

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