WASHINGTON, DC —AARP Michigan State President Thomas Kimble of Clarkston was among volunteers and staff who dropped off petitions containing more than 26,000 signatures at the U.S. Department of Labor this week in support of a conflict of interest standard, following the release of a proposed rule earlier this month.
The petition delivery kicked off several days of action in Washington that included visits to U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and Michigan members of the U.S. House of Representatives Dan Kildee, David Trott and John Moolenaar on issues that include eliminating conflicts of interest in retirement advice, the Older Americans Act, the Safe Streets Act, the bipartisan Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus, and Social Security Trust Fund solvency, as well as thanking those who helped to pass a “doc fix” law that allows Medicare beneficiaries to keep seeing their physicians.
AARP Michigan, which has delivered dozens of signed petitions, is represented in the nation's capital this week by Kimble and Lisa Dedden Cooper, AARP Michigan Manager of Advocacy.
“This week AARP Michigan volunteers and staff came to Washington to ask Congress and the Obama administration to address a variety of issues including laws that protect and enhance health and economic security for current and future generations of Michiganders,” said Nancy LeMond, Executive Vice President of AARP. “We delivered petitions today to ensure that all financial advisers put their clients’ interests first. We’ll also head to Congress to discuss health, safety and economic issues that impact millions of American families.”
Among the issues that AARP volunteers and staff will raise with members of the House and Senate from every state are:
- Financial Conflicts of Interest: In addition to bringing petitions to the U.S. Department of Labor, AARP volunteers continue to speak to members of Congress about AARP’s opposition to any legislation that seeks to stop or slow a proposed rule requiring all retirement advisers to give advice in their clients’ best interest. Each year hidden fees, unfair risk and bad investment advice rob Americans of $17 billion of retirement income.
- The Older Americans Act (S.192): The reauthorization of the bipartisan Older Americans Act would help ensure the continued array of programs and services to assist, protect, nourish and sustain the nation’s seniors with maximum dignity and independence. Since 2010, AARP has consistently supported and urged a simple reauthorization to protect the core programs of this crucial law.
- The Safe Streets Act: Expected to be reintroduced today in the House, the bipartisan Safe Streets Act would ensure that planners and traffic engineers design, construct, and operate roads with the safety of all users in mind by directing states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to create a "safe streets" policy within two years of enactment. The policy would be different for each locality based on their individual communities.
- Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus: AARP backed the formation of the bipartisan, bicameral caucus as a forum to engage those in the House and Senate on family caregiving and living independently, exchange ideas, and build bipartisan relationships that can lead to solutions. Volunteers will seek to expand this important caucus. The caucus was launched in March of this year by U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM).
- Social Security: If Congress does not address the shortfall in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund, children, veterans, older workers, families and others who receive disability insurance benefits may face a 20% cut in their benefits. AARP seeks a reallocation of the trust funds with improved program integrity measures.