January 27, 2020
On behalf of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s millions of members and supporters, I write to express our concerns about S. 2733, the TRUST Act, which the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will discuss at a hearing on Tuesday morning, January 28.
S. 2733 would create so-called “Rescue Committees” that would draft legislation to address the solvency of federal trust funds, including the Social Security and Medicare funds. Once the respective Rescue Committees approve a trust fund bill, the legislation would receive expedited consideration in the House and Senate.
S. 2733 does not specify how solvency would be achieved, thus opening the Social Security and Medicare programs to whatever broad array of across-the-board cuts that the proposed committees may choose to offer. What’s more, the bill fails to require the committees to consider the importance of benefit adequacy given the growing number of working and middle-class Americans who depend on Social Security for all or most of their income in retirement or how Medicare benefit cuts would undermine the health security of seniors and people with disabilities.
In addition, we object to using the proposed committees to bypass the committees of jurisdiction over Social Security and Medicare — the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce.
The National Committee believes that fast-track consideration of Social Security and Medicare legislation required by S. 2733 would circumvent a deliberative and regular order process, limiting the participation of Social Security and Medicare stakeholders and advocates in the debate.
The committees of jurisdiction should hold hearings, develop legislation and vote on the consensus package that they develop under the regular rules of the House and Senate. Adhering to regular order, while perhaps more challenging for legislators, would ensure that the public has an opportunity to express their overwhelming support for Social Security and Medicare and opposition to unpopular benefit cuts.
As an alternative to including Social Security in S. 2733, we urge you instead to support S. 269, the Social Security 2100 Act. S. 269 clearly represents the consensus of an overwhelming majority of Americans to close Social Security’s modest funding gap and improve Social Security benefits. It strikes the right balance between the overall financial needs of the program and the specific needs that still exist for strengthening the protections that Social Security provides. That’s why the National Committee urges the Senate to pass this commonsense legislation rather than embrace another commission bill that would likely result in cuts to the earned benefits of seniors, people with disabilities and survivors.
President and CEO