House Republican Cuts Hurt Seniors
Based on information the House Appropriations Committee received from agency leaders in the Biden Administration, House Republicans’ reported proposal to cut fiscal year 2024 discretionary spending back to the fiscal year 2022 enacted level—resulting in a cut of at least 22 percent for essential programs—would hurt seniors:
“Our country’s senior population is growing. According to the Census Bureau, the United States’ population of individuals over age 60 is projected to increase by 15.7 percent between 2019 and 2025 – an increase of nearly 12 million more people,” said Appropriations Committee and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Ranking Member DeLauro. “That is why we held a hearing less than a year ago on ‘Maximizing the Independence, Well-being, and Health of Older Adults.’ Members on both sides of the aisle engaged in great conversation on how best to support seniors. By suggesting cuts that would rob a million older adults of nutrition services, deny thousands of seniors access to paid work opportunities, and put seniors across the country at risk of homelessness, the Republican proposal shows that they are willing to turn their backs on this vulnerable portion of our population at a time when they need the support the most. We must continue the bipartisan dialogue from last year’s hearing and work to provide this growing portion of the population with the services they need and have earned over their lives.”
“I’m very troubled by the Republicans’ possible cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which helps ensure that our seniors have access to nutritious foods that promote their overall health,” said Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. “These harsh funding cuts would reduce State agencies’ ability to provide nutrition services in a timely manner.”
“Some of the cruelest cuts Republicans would inflict will land on our seniors, affecting millions in Florida alone, where more than half of our nursing home residents count on Medicaid, one of the most vulnerable programs that these heartless reductions would likely target. Worse, the impacts of any cuts would devastate Florida, if Republicans touch Medicare, with nearly five million Sunshine State seniors relying on it for health care security, and where overall, nearly one in five Americans are enrolled in this vital program,” said Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “A sinister element of these cuts is that the most impoverished and vulnerable of our oldest loved ones and neighbors would feel these cuts first, whether it’s stealing the critical daily nutrition they receive from Meals on Wheels, or by forcing countless seniors into the financial margins by shuttering Social Security field offices, and possibly delaying critical benefit claims by months. And for those who risked everything to protect our country, our older veterans could face longer backlogs and reductions in care at VA health centers around the country. Republicans owe all Americans solid details on how they plan to eviscerate our safety net, but no one deserves those answers more than our seniors who invested a lifetime of hard work into building up that health and retirement security.”
“I have long believed that housing is a fundamental human right and no one needs safe, reliable housing more than our nation’s seniors,” said Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Quigley. “Unfortunately, not all of my Republican colleagues share that same view. The proposed funding cuts to Housing Choice Vouchers would put as many as 100,000 senior households at risk of homelessness. Eliminating this funding is not only bad policy, it’s unethical. I will fight to ensure this funding is secured, and that our seniors have a place to call home.”
These drastic proposed cuts would:
Worsen Social Security and Medicare wait times.
- The Social Security Administration would be forced to close field offices and reduce access to in-person services, and people applying for disability benefits would wait an additional 2 months for the processing of claims.
- With fewer staff available, seniors would also be forced to endure longer wait times when they call for assistance for both Social Security and Medicare, and hundreds of Social Security field offices could be forced to close or shorten the hours they are open to the public.
Rob seniors of healthy meals.
- With the looming rise of food insecurity, nutrition services, such as Meals on Wheels, would be cut for more than 1 million seniors. For some, these services provide their only meal of the day.
Cut housing for seniors.
- Despite a stubbornly persistent gap in housing assistance, the Republican proposal would eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for as many as 100,000 households headed by seniors, putting seniors across the country at greater risk of homelessness.
- Under the proposed Republican cuts, more than 430,000 low-income families would be evicted from Section 8 housing. With more than 80% of these households headed by seniors, this would cause an unprecedented loss of affordable housing for older adults.
Reduce vital services for older adults.
- Under this proposal, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would be unable to complete 38% of the required health and safety recertification surveys of nursing homes and home health agencies, leaving thousands of seniors at greater risk of dangerous and unsanitary conditions.
- With a drastic reduction in funding for the Employment and Training Administration, 10,000 low-income older workers participating in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) would lose their jobs.