How a Democratic Lawmaker Wants to Fix Social Security

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It’s been 39 years since Congress took action to change Social Security.

Some House Democrats are hoping to change that with a revised benefits bill and reintroduced it in Congress.

On Tuesday, the Social Security Subcommittee Ways and Means held a hearing to consider the proposal titled Social Security 2100: A Sacred Belief.

The hearing marks Capitol Hill’s eighth session on the issue since 2019, according to Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, who recently introduced legislation with Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

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The bill is the latest version of Social Security Act 2100, which Larson introduced in previous sessions of Congress.

The bill’s new name is a nod to President Joe Biden, who has branded Social Security as a “sacred belief” during his presidential campaign, according to Larson, who spoke to CNBC. com in an interview before a congressional hearing.

“I’m very confident that they understand and support what we’re doing,” Larson said of Biden’s staff.

As Washington lawmakers push to complete a series of items on their agenda before the end of the year, Larson expects the bill to gain momentum in 2022.

The time for procrastination is over.

Representative John Larson

Democratic Congressman from Connecticut

“I’m thinking early in the year we’ll be ready for a bull run and get it on the floor in the spring,” Larson said.

The bill currently has 195 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats.

However, based on Tuesday’s testimony, it may be difficult to get Republican lawmakers to back it. Representative Tom Reed, RN.Y., praised the inclusion of some reforms in the measure, but said he was concerned about offsetting the costs of increased benefits.

“While I cannot support this measure, I am pleased to be working with Chairman Larson to get a number of permanent targeted reforms actually enacted into law,” Reed said.

Congress faces a deadline to act on Social Security, due to a benefit shortfall slated to go into effect in 2034, according to the most recent estimates from the Social Security Administration. festival. At that time, only 78% of the promised benefit would be paid out of the trust the program relies on to issue monthly checks.

“The time for procrastination is over,” Larson said.

To address that shortfall, legislators can cut benefits, raise taxes, or a combination of the two.

The new Social Security Act 2100 includes a series of provisions intended to increase benefits while increasing income through additional taxes on the rich.

Notably, the bill would not include ideas like raising the retirement age, which Larson and other advocates oppose.

It will increase the benefits for new and existing beneficiaries to about 2% of the average benefit.

The measure would set a minimum benefit level above the poverty line by 125%. It would also repeal certain rules that would prevent workers and their families with pension income from having their benefits reduced, which is the case for now.

The proposal would also increase benefits for some widows and widowers and provide credits for caregivers of people who have lost time entering the workforce. It will also raise the age to receive benefits for students to 25 and end the five-month waiting period for disability benefits. Additionally, it will change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for beneficiaries each year.

To pay for those changes, the law calls for an increase in Social Security taxes paid by people with higher wages. In 2021, those taxes are capped at $142,800 in wages, and in 2022 that figure will rise to $147,000. This proposal re-imposes taxes on wages of $400,000 or more.

The bill would generate only about half the revenue of the previous Social Security Act 2100 proposal introduced in 2019. Notably, the benefit improvements would only be made in five years.

“I don’t think we have to wait five years, but this is the first step,” Larson said.

The proposal also aims to extend the depletion of the Social Security Administration’s trust fund through 2038.

Republicans have not made their own proposals for specific changes to Social Security. An invoice, called TRUST . Act, will form a bipartisan committee tasked with making legislative fixes. But Larson and others have complained that most of those decisions will be made behind closed doors.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Andrew Biggs, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who served in President George W. Bush’s White House when other Social Security reforms were proposed, said a two-way approach is needed for the law on this issue to be passed.

“The two sides should sit down and discuss what a bipartisan Social Security package might look like,” Biggs said.

While parties are divided on Social Security, Americans see the issue as bipartisan, Larson said.

“What are they asking Congress to do?” Larson said of voters. “They are asking them to vote.

“If you’re against the show or you have a better idea, get it out there and we’ll vote for that too.” How a Democratic Lawmaker Wants to Fix Social Security

Emma James

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