March 26, 2015
Legislation introduced in the House by Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) would create a Social Security Commission designed to fast-track reforms and insulate Members of Congress from the public backlash over harmful benefit cuts that co-sponsor Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) says the commission will consider, including: raising the retirement age, means testing and the Chained CPI.
NCPSSM President/CEO, Max Richtman, expressed the National Committee’s opposition to the legislation in a letter to Rep. John Delaney:
“We are troubled that H.R. 1578 takes several steps to circumvent a deliberative public process, limiting the participation of Social Security stakeholders and advocates. For example, the Committees of jurisdiction over the Social Security program — the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means — would have limited input in the development of the Commission’s recommendations. Under “fast track” procedural rules in your bill, the legislation embodying the Commission’s recommendations would be considered by Congress on an expedited, “take-it-or-leave-it” basis. No amendments to the Commission’s bill could be offered and it could be passed in both the House and Senate by a simple majority vote. Normally, Section 310(g) of the Budget Act and the Senate’s “Byrd rule” require 60 votes in the Senate to approve legislation which changes Social Security.
The National Committee believes limiting the ability of stakeholders to shape the debate would insulate lawmakers from the devastating effect benefit cut proposals would have on retirees, workers with disabilities and survivors.”
Social Security does not face a crisis in funding. Its trust funds hold $2.76 trillion in assets that, along with its dedicated stream of payroll tax revenue, are sufficient to ensure payment of all benefits due for two decades. However, the average working American continues to suffer from flat wages, growing income inequity and an inability to save for retirement that has led to a national retirement deficit putting even more importance on Social Security benefits.
“The real crisis unmentioned in Congressman Delaney’s legislation is the growing number of working and middle-class Americans who depend on Social Security’s modest $1,284 average monthly benefit for all or most of their income in retirement. To prevent millions of older Americans from falling into poverty, Social Security benefits should be improved rather than cut. That’s why it’s critical that benefit inadequacy must be a part of any Social Security debate and must involve the American people and their elected leaders in Congress not just an appointed commission designed to make it easier to cut already modest Social Security benefits.”…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
You can see the full letter on our website.
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