House Democrats reintroduce Social Security reform bill

House Democrats reintroduce Social Security reform bill
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House Democrats on Tuesday reintroduced a Social Security reform bill, which calls for extending the program's depletion date to give lawmakers more time to devise plans to maintain the long-term solvency of the trust funds, among other proposals.

Rep. John Larson John Barry LarsonDemocrats should make Social Security a top issue in the midterms —  here's how and why  It shouldn't be this hard to grow old in America  House Democrats reintroduce Social Security reform bill MORE (D-Conn.), chair of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, said the bill, dubbed Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, will “expand benefits and strengthen social security,” pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as reason why stronger benefits are needed.

The latest version of the bill acts on the Social Security Administration’s latest outlook that says the trust funds that drive social security benefits will be depleted in 2034, according to CNBC.

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Depletion refers to when a 20 percent cut to benefits would occur. According to CNBC, 78 percent of the benefits promised under Social Security will be payable in 2034.

The bill calls for moving that date to 2038 to give Congress “more time to ensure long term solvency of the Trust Funds,” according to a fact sheet on the legislation.

The legislation also proposes raising the minimum benefit for low-income workers to 25 percent above the poverty line. That number would also be tied to current wages in an effort to “ensure that the minimum benefit does not fall behind,” according to the lawmakers.

Additionally, House Democrats are looking to implement a benefit bump for all current and new social security beneficiaries that will be equal to roughly 2 percent of the average benefit.

“The US faces a retirement crisis and a modest boost in benefits strengthens the one leg of the retirement system that is universal and the most reliable,” the bill’s fact sheet reads.

If Larson’s legislation is passed and ultimately signed by President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE, Social Security would adopt the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, referred to as CPI-E, which Democrats say would “better reflect the costs incurred by seniors.” Specifically, the new provision would assist seniors who spend more of their income on health care and other necessities.

The legislation would apply payroll taxes to wages that are greater than $400,000 as they are currently capped at $142,800. That change, according to the lawmakers, will only affect the top 0.4 percent of wage earners.

House Democrats are also pushing for the establishment of a Social Security Trust Fund, which would combine the Old-Age and Survivors and Disability Insurance trust funds “to ensure that all benefits will be paid.”

Additionally, the bill calls for improving benefits for widows and widowers in two-income households, eliminating the five-month waiting period to receive disability benefits and extending benefits for students through the age of 22, among other provisions.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the new bill will ensure that Social Security remains solvent for years to come.

“Social Security is a sacred commitment made to all Americans and a promise that must be fulfilled. As seniors and individuals with disabilities struggle to afford the costs of food, housing, and prescription drugs, this bill expands benefits and protections for millions of Americans,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

“The Social Security 2100 Act will keep this vital lifeline solvent and ensure our nation’s bedrock social insurance program provides current and future beneficiaries with a quality standard of living,” he added.