Despite flaws in the debt ceiling agreement passed by the House on May 31, NCOA urges the Senate to quickly pass the legislation to avoid a catastrophic U.S. default.
While the agreement protects Medicare and Social Security, it also includes new work requirements for adults ages 50-54 to receive food benefits under SNAP, threatening their health and well-being.
The agreement also includes proposed funding cuts that could reduce access to important community services under the Older Americans Act.
Public Relations Manager
Arlington, VA (May 31, 2023)—The following is a statement from Ramsey Alwin, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), on the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“We are grateful that the Biden Administration and congressional leaders have come to a debt ceiling agreement that prevents our nation from default.
“However, we are concerned about new work requirements for adults ages 50-54 to receive food benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Older adults already face ageism when seeking employment. Now, hundreds of thousands of older, low-income SNAP recipients also could lose access to food assistance. This is especially problematic for people who already have multiple chronic conditions, as it takes away a valuable source of food, and that could jeopardize their health and well-being.
“We are also concerned about proposed funding cuts that could reduce access to important community services under the Older Americans Act. Aging network providers face an ever-increasing demand for their services in the community. Decreased funding means more chronically ill, low-income older adults will lose access to vital programs like home-delivered and congregate meals. The population continues to age, with those 65+ projected to reach 80.8 million by 2040, which is double what it was in 2000. We must invest more—not less—in ensuring that all can age with dignity.
“NCOA appreciates that the agreement protects Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, which serve as the bedrock of retirement and health security for tens of millions of Americans. However, the agreement fails to include revenue to reduce the deficit by requiring wealthy Americans and large corporations to pay their fair share. We live in the same society, and we all need to contribute to it.
“Defaulting on our debts would have catastrophic consequences, so NCOA appreciates House passage of the agreement, and urges the Senate to quickly follow suit, despite the bill's faults. But Congress must find a permanent fix to the debt ceiling for the future. Far too much is at stake—for Americans of all ages."
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or ZIP code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more by following us @NCOAging.