This week, The Senior Citizens League saw support grow for three key bills that would strengthen and improve the Social Security and Medicare programs if adopted by Congress.
Three Key Bills Gain Support in Congress
This week, The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for three important bills that would strengthen the Social Security program and reduce prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D beneficiaries if signed into law.
First, the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (S. 521, H.R. 141) gained eight new cosponsors in the Senate and the House, bringing the cosponsor totals up to thirty and 165, respectively. The new cosponsors are: Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Representative Sean Casten (IL-6), Representative Susan Davis (CA-53), Representative Elaine Luria (VA-2), Representative Colin Allred (TX-32), Representative Ed Case (HI-1), and Representative Filemon Vela (TX-34).
The Social Security Fairness Act, if adopted, would make the Social Security program more equitable by repealing the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). These two provisions of law unfairly cut the Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, police officers, and other state or local government employees, often by 40 percent or more. By repealing both provisions, the Social Security Fairness Act would ensure that public servants receive the Social Security benefits they have earned and deserve.
Second, two new cosponsors – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) and Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-1) – signed on to the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860), bringing the total up to 205. This bill, if adopted, would comprehensively strengthen and reform the Social Security program.
It would: boost monthly Social Security benefits by 2 percent, improve the adequacy of the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, create a new minimum benefit set at 125 percent of the poverty line, and cut taxes for millions of beneficiaries. To cover the cost of these benefit enhancements and extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds for decades to come, it would also apply the payroll tax to income over $400,000 and gradually increase the payroll tax rate from 6.2 percent to 7.4 percent.
Finally, one new cosponsor – Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) – signed on to the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act (S. 99), bringing the cosponsor total up to eight. If adopted, this bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
Under current law, the Medicare program is prohibited from negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies despite the fact that other federal health programs are required to do so. As a result, older Americans enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices than other American consumers for their prescription drugs. If adopted, this bill would lead to billions of dollars in savings for the Medicare program, and it would immediately reduce prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for these three bills this week, and we thank the new cosponsors for their support. In the months ahead, The Senior Citizens League will continue to advocate for the passage of the Social Security Fairness Act, the Social Security 2100 Act, and the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, and we urge Congress to enact them this year.
For progress updates or for more information about these and other bills that would strengthen the Social Security and Medicare programs, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website or follow TSCL on Twitter.