Bills to Strengthen Social Security Financing and Benefits Introduced

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) have introduced related bills to apply Social Security payroll taxes to all income above $250,000, significantly strengthening Social Security’s long term finances (Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act, S. 500 and No Loopholes in Social Security Taxes Act, H.R. 1029). S. 500 was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance; H.R. 1029 was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced the Strengthening Social Security Act. The bill would change the method for calculating Social Security benefits, increasing benefits by approximately $70 per month. The bill also seeks to ensure that cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) adequately reflect beneficiaries’ living expenses, by basing the Social Security COLAs on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Finally, the bill would phase out the current taxable cap of $113,700 so that payroll taxes apply fairly to all wages. Combined, these changes will increase benefits for current and future beneficiaries while extending the life of the Trust Fund through approximately 2049.

The Arc supports efforts to strengthen the long-term solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds and to ensure that benefits are adequate, and supports both of these bills.