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 …

America’s Next Great Challenge

In today’s Washington Post, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and former Secretary Tommy Thompson made a strong case for a constructive, national dialogue on long-term care. AARP agrees wholeheartedly. Just this week, we joined with The Hill Newspaper to hold a briefing on long-term services and supports. We convened leaders from the federal and state levels to shine a bright light on the possible solutions and innovations that are happening across the nation. >> Visit AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center …

Can Congress Get a Budget Deal Done?

Congress doesn’t get much done on the budget without a deadline hanging over it, and this time it’s staring at a deadline – or at least a first deadline – of Dec. 13. That’s the date by which lawmakers on a bipartisan conference committee – led by Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), her House counterpart – are supposed to come up with a budget deal. Without a deal, the government runs out …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun … 1. Two Swedish women have invented an inflatable bike helmet. (Learn more at Sports Illustrated) 2. Military veteran dogs find second careers as explosives detectives at the U.S. Capitol. (Learn more at Washington Post) 3. A new kind of tattoo on your throat could be used as a microphone – and double as a lie detector. (Learn more at Discovery) 4. The classic rubber duckie and the game of chess are in the National Toy Hall of …

Why So Few Veterans in Congress?

Why are there so few veterans in Congress these days? The end of the military draft 40 years ago and the gradual retirement and passing away of the World War II generation have contributed to a record low of 17 veterans in the 100-member U.S. Senate. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. In the House of Representatives the total of 85 veterans – out of 435 members – is also the lowest since World War II. The high point …

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 …