Legislative Update for Week Ending May 5, 2017

Legislative Update for Week Ending May 5, 2017

This week, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for new legislation that would improve the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

TSCL Endorses New COLA Legislation

This week, TSCL endorsed new legislation from Congressman John Duncan, Jr. (TN-2) that would result in a more fair and adequate Social Security COLA. The bipartisan bill, called the Consumer Price Index (CPI) For Seniors Act (H.R. 2016), would require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create and publish a new inflation index based solely on the spending patterns of senior citizens.

Currently, Social Security COLAs are based on the way young, urban workers spend their money, and because items like gasoline and electronics are weighted more heavily than medical costs and housing expenses, they underestimate the inflation Social Security beneficiaries experience. For example, this year, if COLAs were based on the spending patterns of seniors, Social Security beneficiaries would be receiving a COLA of around 2 percent instead of a 0.3 percent increase.

Upon introducing his bill, Congressman Duncan said, “Lower energy prices have pulled down the overall official inflation rate based off of the CPI-W, which measures spending habits of young, urban workers. But seniors don’t spend and consume in the same way as working Americans. It’s time to finally create an accurate inflation rate just for seniors.”

TSCL agrees with Congressman Duncan, and we enthusiastically support the CPI for Seniors Act. In a letter of endorsement, Art Cooper – Chairman of TSCL’s Board of Trustees – wrote: “Unfortunately, years of record-low COLAs like this one – including multiple years of zero COLAs – will have a devastating impact on the long-term adequacy of Social Security benefits for more than 59 million beneficiaries … Your bill would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security older Americans have earned and deserve, and we look forward to informing our members and supporters about your efforts on Capitol Hill.”

In the coming weeks and months, TSCL looks forward to working with Congressman Duncan’s office to build bipartisan support for the CPI for Seniors Act. For updates on the progress of the bill, click HERE for visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.

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