Legislative Update: June 2017

Legislative Update: June 2017

Legislation To Boost Benefits and Improve Social Security Solvency Introduced

By Jessie Gibbons, Senior Policy Analyst

Legislation that would boost Social Security benefits and extend the solvency of the trust funds for decades to come, was recently introduced by Congressman John Larson (CT-1) – Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee. Congressman Larson’s bill, the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 1902), was introduced with the remarkable support of 156 original cosponsors – more than any other comprehensive Social Security reform bill to date.

When introducing his bill at an event on Capitol Hill, Congressman Larson told a roomful of colleagues and advocates, including The Senior Citizens League (TSCL): “I am committed to taking common sense steps to expand benefits and to make the system solvent for the next 75 years and beyond. The Social Security 2100 Act will do just that, without adding to the national debt.”

If signed into law, Congressman Larson’s legislation would make the following changes to the Social Security program:

  • Boost benefits for current and new beneficiaries by approximately 2%, providing the average retiree with $300 more per year.
  • Base the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, which more accurately reflects the inflation that seniors experience. Estimates for TSCL indicate this proposal alone would boost the average benefit by about $70 per month over a 25 to 30 year retirement.
  • Protect low-income workers by creating a new minimum benefit set at no lower than 125% of the poverty line so that everyone who spent a lifetime contributing to the program can retire with dignity.
  • Cut taxes for over 11 million middle-income beneficiaries who currently must pay taxes on their Social Security benefits.
  • Apply the payroll tax to annual income over $400,000 so that the top 0.4% of earners pay the same rate as everyone else. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax is not applied to annual income over $127,200.
  • Gradually increase the Social Security payroll tax from its current rate of 6.2% to 7.4%, which would amount to an extra 50 cents per week for the average worker.

TSCL enthusiastically supports Congressman Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act since it would strengthen the program responsibly, without cutting benefits for enrollees. In a letter of endorsement, Art Cooper – the Chairman of TSCL’s Board of Trustees – wrote to Congressman Larson: “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 … Thank you for being a true champion for Social Security beneficiaries in the United States House of Representatives.”

TSCL looks forward to working with Congressman Larson in the months ahead to help build additional support for the Social Security 2100 Act. In the meantime, we encourage our supporters to contact their Members of Congress to request their support for H.R. 1902. For contact information or progress updates on the bill, visit our website at www.SeniorsLeague.org or call our office at 800-333-TSCL.