Fiscal cliff could mean big problems for seniors - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Fiscal cliff could mean big problems for seniors

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BRANFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The buzz words in Washington are the "fiscal cliff" and it has people everywhere nervous and even more confused.

Eyewitness News got answers on what it is and how it could affect us.

For many seniors their world would change if an agreement is not reached between Republicans and the president.

"If the Congress does not act before Jan. 1, we will see deep harmful cuts," U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd) told a group of seniors in Branford.

There's a big problem in Washington with a budget deficit of more than $1 trillion and no agreement on how to fix it.

Everyone's talking about the fiscal cliff, which would happen if Congress raises taxes and slashes programs, because it would derail our economic recovery.

DeLauro told seniors that she's against cutting Social Security and other benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to reduce the deficit. Although, she feels certain programs within them can be adjusted.

"Why are we not looking at negotiating with the pharmaceutical drugs companies to drive down costs," DeLauro said.

As for the Bush Tax Cuts, Democrats favor extending them for the middle class and raising them on the wealthy.

Republicans don't want to raise taxes on small businesses, but Friday when asked whether he would accept some increase in the top tax rate, House Speaker John Boehner only said "there are a lot of things that are possible."

Many seniors say gridlock in Washington is disturbing and confusing.

"They don't know what it is, they don't understand it," said Diana Shumway of Branford. "We need to get more involved and call our senators. I tell my friends that all the time."

The Veterans Administration and private companies can negotiate with drug companies but, not the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

And DeLauro said she feels that should change.

Congress has done this before and they can do it again extend the deadline.

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