6 Things to Watch in Congress

Members of Congress are back in Washington with an agenda full of items important to older Americans. Here’s a rundown: Debt ceiling and federal budget. Two deadlines loom here. The federal government will run out of borrowing authority if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Feb. 7. Although Capitol Hill lawmakers negotiated a budget deal in December that set overall spending, they must pass a bill with more specifics by Jan. 15. Each time budget deadlines hit, some lawmakers …

House, Senate Negotiators Reach Budget Deal

The two-year budget deal approved by House and Senate negotiators may be most notable for what it doesn’t do. The agreement, unveiled on Dec. 10, aims to keep the government from running out of money in January, avert another government shutdown, cut $23 billion from the federal deficit over two years and ease automatic spending cuts in military and many domestic programs. But the deal doesn’t make major changes in Medicare and Social Security, which many Republicans favored, and it …

5 Tips to Curb Holiday Travel Costs

Holiday travel these days is a Santa-sized hassle and it can be a real budget buster as well. To curb your travel expenses, consider these tips: Leave your wheels parked at home. Since most rental cars nowadays come with competitive rates and unlimited free miles, it may pay to rent a car — and prolong the life expectancy of your own wheels. You might also be able to save on gas costs by renting a more fuel efficient car than …

AARP: Reject Harmful Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

As the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing the interests of Americans age 50 and older and their families, AARP urges the budget conference committee to reject harmful cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits for the purpose of achieving deficit reduction or as a tradeoff for scheduled sequestration cuts or other government spending. While we agree that sequestration cuts will have a growing impact on critical discretionary programs and should be revisited, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect …

Blurred Lines of the Budget Debate

The title of the undisputed hit song of this past summer, before the government shutdown, Blurred Lines,* lacks a reference to Congress (or rest assured it would have been a dud). But it captures what politicians and others in Washington have done in the hopes that voters don’t catch them causing damage to our lives and the broader economy. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter Last week economist and former Obama administration official Jared Bernstein wrote in the …

Will the Fiscal Crisis Ensnare Social Security and Medicare?

Not again. It looks as if cuts in Social Security and Medicare may soon be pulled into the budget battles now under way on Capitol Hill. In an op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal titled “Here’s How We Can End This Stalemate,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) describes changes in the two programs as “vital.” Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter “Let’s negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code,” …