GOP senators: Raise retirement age to 70

Three Republican senators on Wednesday will propose a Social Security reform package that would raise the retirement age to 70 and cut benefits for the wealthy. 

Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) previewed their proposal on Fox News, saying that it will put the entitlement program on a long-term path to solvency without raising taxes. 

The senators said that their plan would gradually raise the retirement age from 67 to 70 and would not affect individuals age 56 or older. Graham said that the proposal uses the same formula Congress used to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67, so that people born in 1970 would become the first group to have a retirement age of 70. The early retirement age would also go from 62 to 64 by 2032. 

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The proposal comes on the same day that President Obama is expected to unveil his deficit reduction plan in a major speech in Washington. 

While Obama is expected to address Medicare and Medicaid reform, Democrats and other GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), have not yet put forth a plan that directly addresses Social Security, whose trust fund is expected to become insolvent by 2037. 

Senate Democrats have openly opposed Social Security reform, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) saying recently that he would not be in favor of making changes to the program for decades. 

But Paul said Congress can't wait to make changes to the program.

"Social Security is going to incur a $5.4 trillion debt over the next 75 years. There's a big hole in Social Security for two simple reasons: We're living longer and baby boomers are going to retire," he said. "These are facts, and Sen. Reid can't escape this."

Lee said that the group would like to see the plan brought up this year, but that he would not move to attach it to other legislation. 

"This is a long-term problem. This doesn't have to be inserted with the continuing resolution or in connection with the debt ceiling. This is something, nonetheless, we need to address this year," he said. 

President Obama's debt commission suggests similar changes to Social Security: raising the full retirement age to 69 by 2075 and cutting benefits for upper-income Americans. 

Unlike the debt commission's proposal, the GOP plan does not call for a payroll tax hike to bolster the trust fund.

The senators claim that their plan would cut public debt by $6.2 trillion by 2085. 

-- This post was updated at 4:05 p.m.