Last week, Congressman John Larson of Connecticut, and 156 other congressional Democrats reintroduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to expand Social Security benefits. (There were 157 original sponsors, including Larson. In just the last few days, one additional member has joined.) More than 80 percent of the Democrats in the House sponsored the bill, responding to what the public wants. Right now, there are no Republican co-sponsors. Will Republicans sign on?
The Social Security 2100 Act, H.R. 1902, would ensure that Social Security had the funding to pay more generous benefits in full through the end of this century. Beginning in 2018, it would increase Social Security benefits for everyone by around 2 percent. It would also rely on an annual cost of living adjustment specifically geared to reflect the spending patterns of older people.
Today, the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment does not properly reflect increasing costs to older adults and people with disabilities. It does not take into account that they use far more health care services than working people, and health care cost inflation is greater than other costs.
The Social Security 2100 Act would address our retirement crisis, helping to ensure the retirement security of tens of millions of Americans currently at risk of not being able to meet basic needs once they stop working. It sets the minimum benefit for Social Security at 125 percent of the federal poverty level. It affords working families greater economic security, strengthening the middle class.
In recognition that Social Security’s old age, disability, and survivor benefits are intertwined, generated from a common benefit formula, the Larson bill combines its two trust funds into one. This is a commonsense, long overdue change that simplifies and streamlines Social Security.
The Social Security 2100 Act pays for all the improvements, while restoring the program to long-range balance by requiring the wealthiest Americans–the top 0.4 percent–to make Social Security contributions on earned income over $400,000 and by gradually increasing the Social Security contribution rate by 1.2 percent, from 6.2 percent to 7.4 percent, between 2019 and 2042. That amounts to a .05 percent increase each year–or the equivalent of 50 cents a week for someone earning $50,000. Polls and surveys show that Americans are willing to pay more to ensure that Social Security remains strong.
If Republicans listen to their base, their constituents, the people they represent in Congress, they will join with Congressman Larson and the Congressional Democrats supporting this bill, helping to improve economic security in America.
If you want Congress to expand Social Security, please sign this petition.
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