House Dems offer bill to expand Social Security

House Dems offer bill to expand Social Security
© Greg Nash

More than 200 House Democrats on Wednesday reintroduced legislation to expand Social Security by increasing benefits for recipients.

The bill was reintroduced on the birthday of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who signed the law creating Social Security in 1935.

"The time to act is now," Rep. John Larson John Barry LarsonDemocratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer Democratic senators unveil 'Medicare X' bill to expand coverage Stop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave MORE (D-Conn.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, said at a press conference.

Democrats have increasingly pushed for an expansion of Social Security in recent years. In the fall, more than 150 Democratic lawmakers formed a new caucus focused on expanding the program's benefits.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president' Dems, Trump harden 2020 battle lines on Tax Day On The Money: Five things to watch on first Tax Day under Trump's law | Trump lawyer disputes Dem reasons for requesting tax returns | Trump struggles to reshape Fed MORE (D-Mass.) said that the panel was going to begin a series of hearings on retirement security next week.

Larson also noted that several Democratic presidential candidates have supported the legislation.

"We know that that this is going to be part and parcel of the discussion and the landscape," he said.

The legislation would provide an increase in benefits for recipients that's equivalent to 2 percent of the average benefit. It also would change the formula for cost-of-living adjustments in an effort to better take into account the costs that seniors incur. Additionally, it would raise the income threshold for when people have to pay taxes on their Social Security benefits.

The bill also includes some provisions designed to strengthen the solvency of the Social Security trust fund, such as subjecting wages above $400,000 to the payroll tax and phasing in an increase in the contribution rate, so that workers and employers would be paying 7.4 percent in 2043 instead of the current 6.2 percent.

The Democrats encouraged Trump and congressional Republicans to support the bill. Larson noted that Trump was supportive of Social Security during the 2016 presidential election.

"President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE stood with seniors all across this country then," Larson said.