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Congresswoman Bustos, Congressman LaHood Engage With Peoria Seniors

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

With Congress in recess, US lawmakers are returning to their districts to meet with constituents. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Congressman Darin LaHood discussed a wide range topics at a legislative break on a panel attended by adults 50 and older Thurs. 

The event was sponsored by AARP Illinois and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley, or OLLI. 

Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio
Peoria Public Radio
Murion Burse is an AARP member with six grown children and nine grandchildren. Burse says he's studying nursing in hopes of starting a mobile healthcare company.

One of the first topics posed to the representatives was about social security. Lahood, a Republican, says programs like Medicare and Medicaid need to be revised, given the country’s growing deficit.

“The trajectory that we’re on isn’t sustainable. It just isn’t and there’s lots of variables that go into this,” LaHood said. 

For instance, nowadays life expectancy is longer than when the retirement age was set, decades ago, LaHood said. The Congressman, however, doesn't think the government should revise benefits of those who are currently retired or nearing retirement.

On the other side, Democratic Rep. Bustos called social security a “sacred promise” that shouldn’t be cut.

"They have spent their lives paying into that and we need to make sure that's not compromised," Bustos said. 

Both LaHood and Bustos say they don't support taxing retirement income. 

AARP member Murion Burse attended the forum to "get up to date" on where his representatives stand. Burse  is on Medicare but says he’s more focused on long-term issues that affect younger generations, like trade and education.

“The older people, who really vote, see that what we’ve created isn’t working for us, is not going to work for our children and our grandchildren,” Burse said.