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Advocacy group for retirees endorses Biden in reelection bid

A grassroots group advocating for retired Americans endorsed President Biden in his reelection bid Tuesday, citing his accomplishments that have benefitted seniors during his first term in office.

The board of the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), a nonprofit group with more than 4 million members founded by the AFL-CIO, voted Tuesday to make the endorsement official, according to a release provided exclusively to The Hill.

“Everything is at stake for seniors in this election,” Robert Roach Jr., president of the alliance, said in a statement to The Hill. “Our members know how to get things done, and will be talking with their friends and family about the Biden-Harris record, making calls, knocking on doors and ensuring people know when and where to vote. They are going to work enthusiastically every day to help keep the President and Vice President in the White House.”

The alliance and its leaders cited Biden’s record in justifying the endorsement. Biden in 2022 signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which allowed the government to negotiate lower prices for drugs covered by Medicare and capped the cost of insulin.

Roach additionally cited the White House’s ongoing efforts to combat junk fees in an effort to bring down costs for Americans and force companies to be more transparent in their pricing.

Biden in his budget proposal released last year also called for an increased tax on Americans who earn more than $400,000 a year in order to keep Medicare solvent.

“He’s a proven leader. Someone that we know will support us and will never cut Social Security,” Linda Somo, president of the alliance’s Arizona chapter, said in an interview. “We can count on him to be our advocate.”

Seniors are considered among the most reliable voters in presidential elections, making them an important voting bloc for Biden or former President Trump, his likely GOP rival, to win over.

Of the ARA’s 4.4 million members, more than 900,000 of them live in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, each of which are expected to be closely contested battleground states in November.

While Biden’s supporters believe he has a strong list of accomplishments to pitch to seniors, his approval rating with the group has remained low. A Pew Research Center survey published last week found 37 percent of Americans age 65 and older approve of Biden’s job performance.

And Democrats have for months worried that the White House has struggled to effectively sell its agenda to voters, leaving many unclear that Biden’s actions have helped lower drug prices.

Trump, who is the dominant front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, has similarly made a hard pitch to senior voters. He has attacked his main primary rival, Nikki Haley, for her suggestion to raise the retirement age in order to keep Social Security solvent.

Trump has vowed to protect Social Security and Medicare and warned Republican lawmakers against changes to the programs, but when Trump was in office, each of his budget proposals included cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs.

“As a kid from Scranton, President Biden wakes up every day working hard to make life better for working people, and that includes delivering on a deeply held commitment to care for America’s seniors,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez said in a statement. “And when it comes to Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans’ attacks on Social Security and Medicare, President Biden won’t just fight back against them; he’s working to strengthen these programs in the process. The more than 4 million members of the Alliance of Retired Americans will be critical to a win in November, and President Biden is honored to have earned their support.”

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