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PNS Daily Newscast - September 25, 2020 

Democrats reported to be preparing a smaller pandemic relief package; vote-by-mail awaits a court decision in Montana.

2020Talks - September 25, 2020 

Senators respond to President Donald Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. And, former military and national security officials endorse Joe Biden.

Idahoans Compete for "Super Committee" Attention

September 19, 2011

BOISE, Idaho - The congressional "super committee" tasked with cutting $1.5 trillion in federal spending by 2021 will be back at work later this week. Idaho has a lot at stake when it comes to its discussions, according to AARP Idaho.

No Idaho representatives serve on the committee, so Idahoans will have to go the extra mile to get its attention, AARP Idaho spokesman David Irwin says. Early talks have focused on cuts in Social Security and Medicare, but Irwin stresses that seniors have said again and again that those programs should not be tampered with.

"Those benefits that hard-working Idahoans have earned over their lifetime continue to end up on the cutting table in this debt debate. There's a lot at stake."

Last Friday, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo joined a group of colleagues in saying all options have to be on the table.

AARP is offering an online tool to help Idahoans contact members of the super committee, Irwin says the idea is to encourage citizens to speak up about the ways such cuts would affect them.

Without Social Security, 38 percent of Idahoans age 65 and above would fall into poverty, and 260,000 Idahoans depend on Medicare, Irwin says.

"We have, actually, in Idaho, one of the highest numbers of people 65 and older who rely on Social Security for half, or more, of their income."

Fifty-seven percent fall into that category, the 12th highest in the nation. Twenty-six percent count on Social Security benefits for 90 percent or more of their family income, which is 14th highest.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID