By Deb Courson Smith

Congressional talks about raising the debt ceiling and reducing the deficit continue, and the pressure to keep senior programs off the cutting table is coming at Congress in another wave.

AARP Montana state leaders were in Washington recently to meet with the state’s congressional delegation. They made it clear where the organization stands, says state director Bob Bartholomew, even though the debate about the budget has been cloudy.

“Don’t cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits seniors have earned. Seniors are not pushovers, and now is not the time to play politics with their hard-earned benefits.”

Options such as reducing government waste and closing tax loopholes should be considered as an alternative to a “cuts-only” approach, Bartholomew says.

Boni Braunbeck, a member of the AARP Montana executive council, also met with the Montana delegation and says she has no doubt they heard the message.

“We remain as committed as ever to not only protect but to strengthen Social Security and Medicare for today’s retirees as well as future generations.”

The phrase “Seniors are not pushovers” is the new theme of an AARP campaign about the budget talks.