House Committee Considers Bill to Boost Social Security
National Committee president Max Richtman is urging the House Ways and Means Committee to boost Social Security — and keep the system financially sound for the rest of the century — as it takes up the Social Security 2100 Act. The bill, introduced by Congressman John Larson (D-CT), receives its first full committee hearing today after years of inaction by the former House majority. In his testimony to the committee, Richtman emphasizes that the National Committee enthusiastically endorses the bill on behalf of its millions of members and supporters.
“Congressman Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act is exactly what current and future seniors need. It will put the program on a financially healthy track, cut taxes for many beneficiaries, and provide a modest, but much needed, boost in benefits. This legislation undercuts conservative propaganda that Social Security is ‘going bankrupt’ – and safeguards the system’s long-term future without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age, or imposing more miserly cost-of-living adjustments.” – Max Richtman, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
The bill assures that Social Security remains fully funded for more than 75 years, while expanding the program in significant ways:
*An across-the-board increase for all beneficiaries of about 2 percent of the average benefit.
*Adoption of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which more accurately reflects the true impact of inflation on retirees than the current formula.
*Tax relief for many Social Security beneficiaries.
*An increase in the special minimum benefit so that it equals up to 125 percent of the federal poverty level.
Congressman Larson says the bill will be marked-up in September, and could come to the House floor for a vote this Fall. The legislation was first introduced in 2014, but did not even receive a hearing under GOP control. The new House majority has given the Social Security 2100 Act new life. The bill has more than 210 cosponsors, nearly a majority of House members.
“By passing this bill, the House can give retirees, the disabled, and their dependents a much-needed pay raise at a time of rapidly escalating living expenses… and reassure Americans that Social Security will be there for them in the future, stronger than ever.” – Max Richtman
The enhanced benefits and fiscal guarantees in the Social Security 2100 Act would be paid for in two ways: 1) By adjusting the FICA payroll income cap so that high-earners would contribute to the system on income above $400,000; 2) By slowly raising the FICA payroll tax paid by employees 1.2% over the next 24 years – or about 50 cents extra per week for the average wage earner.
Rep. Larson likes to remind audiences that the small increase in payroll contributions over more than two decades is a good deal for workers. “Is there any other ‘tax’ where you get disability, spousal, and pension benefits?,” he asks. The answer, of course, is a definitive “No.”