Knoxville — Rep. Dave Loebsack addressed Medicare, the Older Americans Act and other issues over lunch Thursday at the Knoxville Senior Center.
The Older Americans Act, federal legislation through which several programs for senior citizens is funded, is up for renewal. Loebsack, a Democrat, is concerned that the renewal is "going nowhere" in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Loebsack, and Marion County Senior Nutrition Director Dawn Allspach-Kline, touted the Congressman's support for funding Meals and Wheels and other senior issues.
"I think it's very noble for him to care deeply about older adults and the services they have coming to them because they earned it," Allspach-Kline said.
After lunch, Allspach-Kline went on to say that Loebsack "fights passionately" for older Americans and expressed her appreciation of Loebsack's support for all older Americans.
Loebsack also took questions. One concern among those in attendance was what Congress is doing for America's veterans. Loebsack does not think Congress is doing "enough" to help those who have served.
"The least we can do is treat them with honor," Loebsack said. Most veterans' issues are handled by federal bureaucracies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs. Loebsack was asked how a single legislator, such as himself, can make a difference with these governmental bureaus.
"You can get a lot more done than you think," Loebsack said. The key for him is to work on a bipartisan basis to get things done. He has also been active in sitting down with representatives of these departments to explain the concerns he is hearing from the district. He used the Department of Labor's reversal on rules for underage kids working on farms as an example.
Seniors also had questions about Medicare, their incomes and the costs of living for senior citizens. Loebsack shared their concerns and said he has heard many of the same questions elsewhere in the district.