Legislative Update for Week Ending August 3, 2018

Legislative Update for Week Ending August 3, 2018

This week, Senator Marco Rubio (FL) introduced legislation that would negatively impact the future of the Social Security program and weaken retirement security if adopted. In addition, House lawmakers remained in their home districts for the summer recess, and those in the Senate left Washington for a week-long break.

New Bill Would Jeopardize Retirement Security

On Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio (FL) introduced legislation called the Economic Security for New Parents Act (S. 3345). If adopted, the bill would create a new federal paid family leave program that would allow new parents to claim up to twelve weeks of paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Those who claim the paid leave benefit would pay for it by pushing back their full eligibility ages for Social Security retirement benefits.

According to the Urban Institute, young adults who take twelve weeks of paid leave would see their full eligibility ages in retirement increase by as much as twenty-five weeks – that’s more than double the duration of the leave. The full eligibility ages of those who take two leaves would increase by up to one year. And those who take three or four leaves after having children would see even more significant long-term impacts on their Social Security benefits in retirement.

The Senior Citizens League opposes the Economic Security for New Parents Act since it would increase the insolvency of the Social Security program, and it would lead to significantly reduced lifetime benefits for future retirees who receive paid parental leave. In addition, the Economic Security for New Parents Act penalizes women and low-income workers, who would be the most likely to utilize this program and the least likely to be able to afford reduced retirement benefits. TSCL is also disappointed that this bill disregards others in need of paid family leave, including those caring for aging parents.

Perhaps most importantly, the Economic Security for New Parents Act undermines the Social Security program’s mission of providing financial protection to older and disabled Americans. If adopted, the bill would set a dangerous precedent by allowing young workers to borrow against their future Social Security benefits for non-retirement purposes. Similar programs offering education benefits or student loan forgiveness to young adults in exchange for reduced retirement benefits would likely follow if this bill were adopted.

For these reasons, The Senior Citizens League is urging lawmakers to reject this bill and to consider paid leave proposals that rely on other sources of funding, like payroll taxes or tax credits for employers. We also urge lawmakers to consider more comprehensive paid leave programs that offer benefits to the caregivers of aging or ill family members.

In the weeks ahead, TSCL will oppose this paid leave proposal tirelessly on Capitol Hill, and we will continue to advocate for legislation that would strengthen retirement security in America. For progress updates, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or follow TSCL on Twitter.

Lawmakers Adjourn for Summer Recess

This week, House lawmakers remained in their home districts to continue their five-week recess, and on Thursday, those in the Senate adjourned for a summer break of their own. Senate lawmakers are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, August 14th, while those in the House are expected to return on Tuesday, September 4th.

In the meantime, many Members of Congress will be attending local events and hosting town hall meetings 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 four...

  1. Social Security beneficiaries received a 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year, but most have seen their benefit increases completely offset by higher Medicare Part B premiums. Do you support legislation that would give older Americans a more fair and adequate Social Security COLA?
  2. In April, lawmakers on the Republican Study Committee proposed a budget blueprint that would have reformed the Medicare program and cut Social Security benefits by adopting the “chained” CPI, eliminating the COLA for some seniors, and raising the eligibility age. Did you support this budget blueprint, and if so, why?
  3. The federal government negotiates prescription drug prices for Medicaid and for veterans, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, senior citizens enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices for their prescriptions. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy?
  4. Medicare is currently prohibited from covering most hearing, vision, and dental services, even though millions of seniors are afflicted with age-related hearing loss, low vision, and poor oral health. When left untreated, these conditions often result in serious injuries and complications. What do you feel should be done about this?

For information about town hall meetings near you in the weeks ahead, call the local offices of your elected officials. For contact information, click HERE.