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Sen. Susan Collins Officially Assumes Role of Chairman of Senate Aging Committee

Senator Collins Now 19th in Seniority in US Senate

WASHINGTON, DC— Senator Susan Collins today was officially elected as the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, a Committee on which she has served as Ranking Member for the past two years, and on which she has been a Member since 1997.   Senator Collins pursued a leadership position on the Committee because Maine has the oldest median age in the nation, and this position will enable her to continue to work on issues that are of particular interest and concern to seniors.  This is the first time that a Mainer has held the top position on the Committee since the early 1990’s when Senator Bill Cohen served as both Ranking Member and Chairman of the Committee.

            In the 114th Congress, Senator Collins is the highest ranking Republican woman Senator, while ranking 9th in the Republican Caucus and 19th in seniority in the full Senate.

            Upon assuming the Chairmanship of the Committee, Senator Collins said, “Throughout its history, the Aging Committee has spurred Congress to action on issues important to older Americans through hearings, investigations, and reports.  In the last Congress, the Aging Committee shone a spotlight on issues of vital importance to older Americans such as health care, retirement security, transportation, and scams targeting seniors, such as the Jamaican lottery phone scam. I will continue the Aging Committee’s work to protect seniors from these kinds of scams and financial exploitation.”

            Senator Collins said that she also plans to maintain the Committee’s focus on retirement security and in particular, the need to encourage increased retirement savings. According to one study, there is an estimated $6.6 trillion gap between the savings Americans have today and what they should have to maintain their standard of living in retirement.  Nationally, one in four retired Americans has no source of income beyond Social Security—in Maine, that number is one in three.

            In addition, Senator Collins’ priorities on the Committee include highlighting the importance of biomedical research on diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes that take such a devastating toll on older Americans and their families.  “Investments in biomedical research not only improve the health and longevity of Americans, but also provide ongoing benefits to our economy,” said Senator Collins.

            As the Senate Co-Chair of the Congressional Alzheimer’s Task Force, the Senator is particularly committed to putting an end to Alzheimer’s disease, which has had such a devastating effect on 5.2 million Americans and their families.  “At a time when the United States is spending more than $200 billion a year to care for Alzheimer’s patients, we are spending less than three tenths of one percent of that amount on research.  Surely we can do more for Alzheimer’s given its tremendous human and economic price.”

            Senator Collins said that she also looks forward to continuing the long history of bipartisanship that has defined the Senate Special Committee on Aging.  Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was also elected to be the Committee’s Ranking Member.

            Senator Collins will continue her service on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition, she has become a Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, a Committee on which she also served during her first term of service in the United States Senate.