By Erik Wasson
The Begich bill, which was reintroduced in February, would address the eventual shortfall in the program by raising the $113,700 cap on payroll taxes. Without a fix, Social Security will not be able to pay full benefits after 2033.
The bill would increase benefits by revising the way they are adjusted for inflation. The new Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the elderly would give greater weight to health services and other actual spending.
The CPI proposal contrasts with one that Obama floated in his 2014 budget. That chained CPI proposal would tend to reduce benefits over the long term.
The president's CPI proposal was intended to test the waters for a possible budget compromise this year with congressional Republicans.
Tepid support from some Republicans and attacks from other Republicans and Democrats is all that has resulted so far.