It’s hard to believe that we are turning the corner to the second half of 2019! June is on the way out with July right around the corner; Presidential Debates, Legislative Action and Congressional Hearings were on this weeks agenda.
The highlight of this week was the Democratic Presidential Debates that were held over a two night period. While we still wait with anticipation for the Republican debates (dates of which have not yet been announced), the democratic debates provided some insight into the Social Security and Medicare platforms of the democratic contenders with subjects ranging from “Medicare for All” to efforts on curbing skyrocketing drug prices, being debated as key issues of the 10 hopeful candidates.
The League was pleased that the Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act of 2019 (H.R. 3389) was reintroduced by Congressman Engle (NY-16) and (S.1922) by Senator Whitehouse (RI) this week and The Senior Citizens League provided solid support for the legislation. These bills, if passed into law, would give Social Security recipients a minimum Cost of Living Adjustment of 3%. Considering the last three Cost of Living Adjustments were just 0.3% in 2016, 2.0% in 2017 and 2.8 in 2018 making 3% a minimum would be an appreciated increase.
Numerous other bills supported by TSCL saw an increase in the number of co-sponsors. Of primary importance were co-sponsors who signed onto H.R. 860, The Social Security 2100 Act. In the last two weeks, Congressman Costa (CA-16), Congressman Van Drew (NJ-2) and Congressman San Nicolas (GU-AL) signed onto this bill to show their support. If adopted, this legislation would strengthen and reform the Social Security program by providing beneficiaries with a 2% benefit boost, basing the cost of living adjustment (COLA) on the CPI-E, create a new minimum benefit set at 125% of the poverty line and cutting taxes for beneficiaries. It would also apply the payroll tax to income over $400,000 and gradually increase the payroll tax to 7.4%.
To our teachers, first responders and other public service employees affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision, will be happy to know that five Members of Congress (Loebasack IA-2, Cummings MD_7, Roybal-Allard CA-40 and Bass CA-37), have signed their support to the H.R. 141, legislation that would repeal the Government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions.
For progress updates or for more information about these and other bills that would strengthen Social Security and Medicare programs, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website or follow TSCL on Twitter.