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Statement by AARP CEO Bill Novelli on President Bush's State of the Union

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP CEO Bill Novelli made the following statement today in response to President Bush's State of the Union address:

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"We hope that the President's words tonight help move us beyond rhetoric and towards bipartisan solutions that are fair for all generations. Congress and the Administration must come together, openly debate all available options, and solve our health care and economic crises.

"Despite Washington's history of gridlock, the bipartisan compromise reached last week between the House and the Administration on an economic stimulus package is a good start. While quick action is critical, the Senate deserves an opportunity to make its mark on the compromise; the proposal now under development in the Finance Committee would better target relief to those who need it the most and more quickly stimulate the economy. But the recent bipartisan action is reason to be optimistic other such agreements are possible.

"We urge Congress and the Administration to continue this spirit of bipartisan cooperation to begin developing solutions to our most important domestic problems - ensuring access to affordable health care and lifetime economic security.

"As much of the country is focused on the election season, it is imperative that Washington not abandon the needs of the American people. While comprehensive health care reform and Social Security solvency legislation are not likely to be addressed before the 2008 presidential elections, Congress and the Administration have important opportunities this year to make progress toward the broader initiatives of affordable health care and retirement security. AARP stands ready to work with policymakers to secure enactment of health IT, comparative effectiveness research, and e-prescribing, as well as legislation to expand retirement savings options, such as auto-enrolled IRA's.

"It is time for our leaders to break the gridlock and begin to move forward. The crises that face our nation are not insurmountable, but they will require the cooperation of both parties to solve."

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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