Co-Chair of the Expand Social Security Caucus U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Chairman of the Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee John Larson (CT-01) introduced legislation today to increase Social Security benefits and financially strengthen the Social Security program overall.
"Social Security should not only be protected, it should also be improved and expanded," Sewell said. "Let's be clear: Social Security is not an entitlement. It is a retirement plan that hardworking Americans earn and pay for throughout their careers."
"Last year, Republicans passed a tax bill that will add over $2 trillion to the deficit and lay the groundwork for cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security," Sewell said. "I'm proud to partner with my Democratic colleagues to reverse that attack and strengthen these critically important social safety net programs."
The Social Security 2100 Act provides the following:
-An across-the-board benefit increase for current and new beneficiaries, equivalent to about 2% of the average benefit. A modest boost in benefits strengthens the most reliable and universal leg of the retirement system.
-An improved cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that takes into account the true costs incurred by seniors. This provision will help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities.
-A stronger minimum benefit, so someone who works their whole life does not retire into poverty. The new minimum benefit will be set at 25% above the poverty line.
-A tax cut for over 12 million Social Security recipients by eliminating the tax on their benefits. Currently, Social Security benefits are taxed if a person's non-Social Security income exceeds $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for couples. The bill would raise that threshold to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively.
Not only do over 1.1 million Alabamians rely on Social Security, the program also lifted 437,878 Alabamans out of poverty in 2016. The program is sound policy and makes economic sense -- it generates over $23 billion in economic output in Alabama alone.
With common sense steps like those in the Social Security 2100 Act, Congress can improve benefits while ensuring Social Security remains finally strong for the next generation to come.
Broadcast quality video of Sewell discussing the Social Security 2100 Act is available here.