Jul 30, 2010
Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-19) has introduced legislation comprehensively improving Social Security benefits and strengthening the program’s financial future. The Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act of 2010 extends the solvency of Social Security - without raising the retirement age or slashing benefits – and finally guarantees adequate and accurate cost of living adjustments each year.
“I came to Washington to fight on my constituents’ behalf, and no issue is of greater importance to them than protecting Social Security. I reject the notion, too often perpetuated by the right, that Social Security will go bankrupt unless we cut it, gut it, or tie it to the whims of Wall Street. My legislation will bring fairness back to the Social Security contribution system, close the solvency gap, and improve benefits for all of America’s retirees.
“Social Security’s financial foundation is strong, but its moral foundation is even stronger. Americans respect a hard day’s work and likewise, believe that our retirees deserve a basic sense of dignity after a lifetime of hard work.”
The Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act addresses inadequacies in Social Security benefits and also solidifies the program’s financial future. First, it addresses the lack of adequate cost of living adjustments to Social Security by creating a Consumer Price Index for Elderly consumers (CPI-E) that more accurately reflects the expenses faced by today’s seniors. The legislation also institutes an automatic supplemental payment of $250 to Social Security beneficiaries in times of economic depression, a provision designed to protect this important benefit from future attempts to sabotage it.
Even with the oncoming retirement of the baby boomers, Social Security will not add a dollar to the deficit until 2037, at which point it will only be able to pay out 75 percent of the benefits it owes. Congressman Deutch's bill instead extends the program’s solvency by lifting the Social Security cap and bringing fairness back to the contribution system. As the cap is indexed to inflation rather than wages, rising income inequality has left fewer wages subject to Social Security taxes. In fact, the current cap is down to 84% of all wages earned, a 30-year low that threatens solvency.
Click here to read a detailed summary of the legislation.
Seniors advocacy organizations have commended Congressman Deutch for developing this comprehensive bill:
"The Alliance for Retired Americans commends Congressman Deutch for introducing the Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act. This legislation closes the 75 year funding gap of Social Security by slowly phasing out the cap on wages. The measure also provides enhanced benefits by creating a fairer cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) formula and guaranteeing supplemental benefits in non-COLA years. This legislation proves that Social Security can be protected for future generations without instituting benefit cuts on middle class Americans," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a four million-member grassroots advocacy organization.
“Through our constituent outreach in the senior community and the aging services network, the National Council on Aging has found that seniors oppose the idea of using Social Security funding to help balance the federal deficit. Rep. Deutch’s Preserving Our Promise to Seniors Act is a bold step on behalf of America’s seniors as it seeks to close the Social Security funding gap without forcing seniors to push back their dreams of retirement,” said Howard Bedlin, Vice President, Policy and Advocacy for the National Council on Aging.
Congressman Ted Deutch was elected to the House of Representatives by a Special Election in Florida's 19th District in April of 2010. A committed champion for the health and financial security of America's retirees, the Preserving our Promise to Seniors Act is the new Congressman's first major domestic policy legislation. In contrast with the Republican budget's intolerable plan to slash benefits and give the Trust Fund to the stock market, or Minority Leader Boehner's determination to deny workers benefits until the age of 70, Congressman Deutch believes we can extend Social Security's solvency without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age, or increasing taxes on working and middle class Americans.