This week, Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) and Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4) introduced new legislation that would strengthen and expand the Social Security program. In addition, lawmakers adjourned for a week-long holiday recess after reaching a deal to avert another partial government shutdown.
TSCL Endorses Social Security Expansion Act
At an event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) and Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4) announced the introduction of the Social Security Expansion Act (S. 478, H.R. 1170). Their bill, if adopted, would expand Social Security benefits and strengthen the solvency of the program for decades to come.
The Social Security Expansion Act would boost benefits for the average beneficiary by around $70 per month, make cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) more adequate by basing them on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), and reduce senior poverty by setting the Special Minimum Benefit at 125 percent of the poverty line.
It would cover the cost of these benefit improvements and strengthen the solvency of the trust funds by applying the payroll tax to all income (including investment income) over $250,000. Under current law, the payroll tax is not applied to annual income over $132,900.
At Wednesday’s event, Senator Sanders said: “We can afford to increase Social Security benefits for millions of Americans and extend the life of Social Security if we have the political will to tell the wealthiest Americans to pay the same rate as everyone else.”
The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) agrees with Senator Sanders, and we were proud to endorse the Social Security Expansion Act when it was introduced this week. In a letter of support, Shannon Benton – Executive Director of The Senior Citizens League – wrote: “We believe your bill would provide much-needed financial protection for older Americans, and it would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security senior citizens have earned and deserve.”
The Senior Citizens League looks forward to working with Senator Sanders and Representative DeFazio in the months ahead to help build support for the Social Security Expansion Act. For updates on its progress in the House and Senate, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website or follow us on Twitter.
Lawmakers Adjourn for Presidents’ Day Recess
On Friday, after advancing legislation to keep the federal government operating, House and Senate lawmakers adjourned for a week-long holiday recess. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Monday, February 25th. Until then, many Members of Congress will be hosting town hall meetings and attending events in their home states and districts.
The Senior Citizens League encourages its supporters to attend these events and to ask important questions of their elected officials, like the following three…
- New legislation before the House and Senate would expand Social Security benefits and strengthen the program’s solvency for decades to come. Will you cosponsor the Social Security Expansion Act when you return to Washington next week?
- The government negotiates prescription drug prices for veterans and Medicaid beneficiaries, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, seniors enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices for their prescription drugs. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy?
- Under current law, the Medicare program excludes coverage of most routine and emergency dental care, leaving around 70 percent of seniors without comprehensive dental insurance coverage. Will you support the Medicare Dental Benefit Act (S. 22) to ensure that seniors have access to essential health care?
For information about town hall meetings near you during the Presidents’ Day recess, call the local offices of your elected officials. You can find contact information for your Members of Congress right here.