Top Republican: Raise Social Security's retirement age to 70

A Republican-held Congress might look to raise the retirement age to 70, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Monday.

Boehner, the top Republican lawmaker in the House, said raising the retirement age by five years, indexing benefits to the rate of inflation and means-testing benefits would make the massive entitlement program more solvent.

ADVERTISEMENT
"We're all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected," Boehner said in a meeting with the editors of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "And I think that raising the retirement age — going out 20 years, so you're not affecting anyone close to retirement — and eventually getting the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken."

The GOP leader said Social Security was the most important entitlement to reform, though he also pledged Republicans would bring legislation to the floor to repeal and replace the healthcare reforms passed earlier this year if the GOP wins back control of the House this fall.

But Boehner also floated several other reforms to Social Security, paired with raising the retirement age, to make it more solvent. Boehner said benefits should be tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of wage inflation, and he suggested reducing or eliminating benefits to Americans with a "substantial non-Social Security income" while retired.

"We just need to be honest with people," he said. "I'm not suggesting it's going to be easy, but I think if we did those three things, you'd pretty well solve the problem."

Republicans have made cutting spending and reforming entitlement programs a key part of their 2010 campaign message. 

“The choice this year could not be clearer. While Democrats are fighting to create jobs and stand up for seniors, middle class families, and small businesses, Republicans are fighting for Wall Street and to bring back the same policies that caused the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," said Ryan Rudominer, the national press secretary for House Democrats' campaign committee.

Watch the entirety of Boehner's explanation below:



Updated 2:41 p.m.