Thousands of Idahoans Helped Drive Debt Debate Outcome

Aug 04, 2011, 12:52 ET from AARP Idaho

24,000 Phone Calls, Emails & Petitions from Gem State AARP Members Help Protect Social Security & Medicare Benefits from Initial Cuts

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a deal to pay the nation's bills now law, tens of thousands of AARP members in Idaho joined with millions more nationwide to help ensure cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits were not included in the final agreement.  While the thousands of phone calls, emails and petitions from Gem State AARP members to the President and Congress helped protect the critical programs from initial cuts, AARP warns that the fight is far from over.  

"After hearing from millions of AARP members across the nation, including tens of thousands in Idaho, the nation's debt ceiling was raised with no cuts to the Social Security and Medicare benefits seniors have worked so hard for," said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho.  "But we're not out of the woods yet; Medicare and Social Security benefits may still be targeted for cuts in a second round of deficit reduction negotiations that must occur before the end of the year."

Idahoans made their voices heard loud and clear in the debate, with AARP members in the state signing over 20,000 petitions, sending 2,326 emails, and making over 1,200 phone calls to their members of Congress and the President urging them to take cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits off the table.

"Idahoans made a difference in the outcome of this deal, and we're working to make sure they continue to have a voice at the table as the deficit debate continues in Washington," added Wordelman.  "Social Security and Medicare are programs that belong to the American people, not Congress – and we'll continue to remind our nation's leaders to strengthen them for current and future generations."

As the so-called "super committee" in Congress convenes to consider an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts, AARP is urging both parties to strengthen Social Security and Medicare and work together to find balanced, common-sense solutions – like cutting health care costs and providing more retirement options to all Americans.  AARP remains concerned that the fast-track committee process will deny Americans a voice in the discussion about critical tax, health and retirement issues and about the potential use of a trigger that would arbitrarily cut provider payments under Medicare, which could unfairly shift costs to seniors.

To learn more about AARP's efforts, visit

AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with over 180,000 members.

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