By Representative Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
The past year has been extraordinarily difficult for everyone, especially for our seniors. The coronavirus crisis has upended the lives of millions, forcing businesses to shut down and leading to levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Recession. As a consequence of the unprecedented number of layoffs, Social Security could be critically impacted for years to come. We must do all we can to protect this critical resource for our seniors.
For decades, Congress has worked hard to try and strengthen our Social Security program. Most notably, Congress passed the Social Security Act of 1983, which included two provisions they believed at the time would strengthen and protect this system: the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). These provisions, while well-intentioned, proved to be more harmful than helpful. They were enacted as a way to keep Social Security “fair,” but overlooked prior employment that paid into the Social Security system. This led to reduced benefits that left many seniors blindsided once they retired. That’s why I wholeheartedly support legislation to fix these issues. I am a proud cosponsor of the Social Security Fairness Act, a bipartisan bill that completely repeals both provisions making certain that all seniors can receive their full Social Security benefit.
With a growing number of retirees, we must do all we can to make sure Social Security remains solvent and to make sure seniors are receiving their full benefits. By passing the Social Security Fairness Act, we can ensure that seniors impacted by WEP or GPO can rely on Social Security to retire with dignity. Many of the seniors most affected by these programs are former federal and railroad employees, frontline workers like firefighters, teachers and law enforcement, and their spouses. After a lifetime of work, they deserve the full benefit they’ve earned. That’s why Congress must pass the Social Security Fairness Act to fix these issues and give more seniors financial peace of mind.
Social Security is a promise to every American, that if we work hard and pay our taxes, we can retire comfortably and with dignity. Millions of people rely on this promise. Congress has an obligation to ensure that this crucial program is properly strengthened for today’s seniors and for generations to come and that everyone gets their fair share. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to deliver on this promise for senior residents of the Inland Empire and across the nation.
The opinions expressed in “Congressional Corner” reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of TSCL.