Congressional Corner: “We Have An Obligation To Keep That Promise”

Congressional Corner: “We Have An Obligation To Keep That Promise”

“We Have An Obligation To Keep That Promise”           

By Representative Tim Ryan (OH-13)

Earlier this year, we marked the 79th anniversary of the enactment of the Social Security program, one of our nation’s proudest achievements that lifted millions out of poverty and enhanced the quality of life for our senior citizens. Social Security has represented a bedrock promise to the American people: that a lifetime of hard work will be rewarded with peace of mind and the certainty of a stable retirement. We have an obligation to keep that promise.

We should never forget the real-life impact that America’s most successful program continues to have on millions of Americans each year. Without Social Security, nearly one of every two seniors would be living in poverty. But the economic impact of Social Security goes well beyond those seniors and families who receive benefits. Families put $775 billion of Social Security benefits back into our nation’s economy each year.

I will continue to work to ensure that Social Security is always there to meet the retirement needs of all Americans. As of right now, it is estimated that the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted in 2033, largely due to the fact that people are living longer. That doesn’t mean that payments will stop, but modifications will have to be made to the Social Security program to keep it solvent. Furthermore, we can ensure the future of the program by expanding the economy and putting America back to work.

Unfortunately, the current logjam in Congress has not allowed us to make the necessary changes to the Social Security system. There are many members of Congress who continue to promote various plans to privatize or partially privatize Social Security – plans that would rob seniors of the economic security they count on. The House Republican Budget has continued to include language that would siphon a massive amount from the Social Security Trust Fund and leave benefits levels subject to the whims of the stock market. This is not the right approach and I will continue to oppose these changes. It is time for Congressional Republicans to end their obsession with cutting Social Security and pass legislation that will create jobs, protect our seniors, and bring economic security back to middle-class families.

I will always work to protect and strengthen Social Security and safeguard the rights of our nation’s seniors. While I would like it to be higher, I’m happy to see that for 2015, over 64 million Americans will see a modest increase in benefits of 1.7%, bringing the average Social Security payment to just under $16,000 per year. Social Security has allowed generations of retirees to live with independence and dignity. American families work hard and pay into the system and should be able to count on Social Security when they retire. I will always work to ensure the solvency of the Social Security system.