May 23, 2019
The Honorable Bernie Sanders
332 Dirksen Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C., 20510
The Honorable Peter A. DeFazio
2134 Rayburn House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C., 20515
Dear Senator Sanders and Representative DeFazio:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to endorse your legislation, S. 478 and H.R. 1170, the “Social Security Expansion Act.” The National Committee commends you for introducing this legislation, which extends the solvency of both the Old-Age and Survivors (OASI) and the Disability Insurance (DI) Social Security Trust Funds through 2071.
Your legislation should give all Americans confidence that Social Security will be there for them when they need it, whether they apply for retirement or disability benefits. Moreover, it achieves this while at the same time making important improvements to the benefits Social Security provides.
Included in the “Social Security Expansion Act” are the following benefit improvements:
- A boost in Social Security benefits of up to $108 a month for most beneficiaries.
- Adoption of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) for the purpose of determining cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries.
- An increase in the special minimum benefit so that it equals up to 125 percent of the poverty level for an individual. This benefit would be indexed in future years by increases in the COLA.
- Extending benefits to age 22 for children who are full-time students.
- Combining the Disability Insurance Trust Fund with the Old-Age and Survivors Trust Fund to help senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
The “Social Security Expansion Act” strengthens Social Security’s financial foundations by increasing revenue dedicated to support the program. First, it extends the payroll tax to all wages paid to workers that are in excess of $250,000. Over time, this provision would completely eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes. While the National Committee supports this provision, we believe it could be improved by providing that the additional Social Security taxable wages stemming from it be taken into account in determining workers’ benefits.
The second revenue measure would subject unearned household income above $250,000 ($200,000 for single individuals) to a tax of 6.2 percent. This is the same Social Security tax rate that applies to most earned income and would provide an important new stream of revenue that would help strengthen Americans’ confidence that Social Security will be there for them in years to come.
The National Committee generally supports the provisions included in your bill and proudly endorses the “Social Security Expansion Act.” This bill represents a bold and forceful step on behalf of seniors and all Americans by strengthening and safeguarding Social Security for future beneficiaries while at the same time making important improvements in the adequacy of the benefits the program provides. We look forward to working with you to enact this important legislation.
President and CEO