Sanders, Warren introduce legislation to expand Social Security by $2,400, extend solvency for 75 years

WASHINGTON  — Senate Co-Chairs of the Expand Social Security Caucus Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday — joined by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introducing companion legislation in the House — introduced legislation that would expand Social Security benefits by $2,400 a year and fully fund it for the next 75 years past the year 2096, all without raising taxes by one penny on over 93 percent of American households.

These estimates reflect an analysis of the legislation conducted by the Social Security Administration on the request of Sen. Sanders and Rep. DeFazio. The analysis was also released today in a letter from Chief Actuary Stephen Goss.

WIkimedia Commons/AFGE

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders

This follows the recent release of an annual report by the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds that showed Social Security currently has a $2.85 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible recipient until the year 2035.

“At a time when half of older Americans have no retirement savings and millions of senior citizens are living in poverty, our job is not to cut Social Security,” said Sen. Sanders. “Our job must be to expand Social Security so that every senior citizen in America can retire with the dignity they deserve and every person with a disability can live with the security they need. And we will do that by demanding that the wealthiest people in America finally pay their fair share of taxes. It is absurd that a billionaire in America today pays the same amount of Social Security taxes as someone making $147,000 a year. It is time to scrap the cap, expand benefits, and fully fund Social Security. I am very proud that the Social Security Administration has estimated that our legislation to expand Social Security benefits by $2,400 a year will fully fund Social Security for the next 75 years by applying the payroll tax on all income – including capital gains – above $250,000 a year.”

“Social Security is an economic lifeline for millions of Americans, but many seniors are struggling with rising costs,” said Sen. Warren. “As Republicans try to phase out Social Security and raise taxes on more than 70 million hardworking Americans, I’m working with Senator Sanders to expand Social Security and extend its solvency by making the wealthy pay their fair share, so everyone can retire with dignity.”

“As a trained gerontologist, I have devoted my career to protecting and expanding programs that are vital to seniors,” said Rep. DeFazio. “One of my highest priorities is protecting Social Security, which millions of Americans rely on, including hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. With the cost of living at an all-time high, Social Security has never been more important, yet Congressional Republicans continue to play games with its funding. This legislation would ensure that the Social Security Trust Fund remains solvent for another 75 years, increase monthly benefits for most recipients by $200, and alter the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) formula to meet the everyday needs of our nation’s seniors.”

Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Social Security today remains one of the most popular and successful government programs in the history of the United States. Before it was enacted in 1935, more than half of the nation’s seniors lived in poverty, as well as countless Americans living with disabilities and surviving dependents of deceased workers.

More than 80 years later, the nation’s senior poverty rate is just 8.9 percent with Social Security providing an essential lifeline to the one in seven seniors who rely on the program for more than 90 percent of their income – as well as the estimated 50 percent of Americans, 55-years-old and older, living without retirement savings. In 2020 alone, during the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, Social Security lifted 22 million Americans out of poverty, including more than 16 million seniors.

By requiring millionaires and billionaires to finally pay their fair share into the program, the Social Security Expansion Act would build upon and strengthen that legacy. In addition to ensuring solvency to the end of the century, this legislation would help low-income workers stay out of poverty by improving the Special Minimum Benefit, restore student benefits up to age 22 for children of disabled or deceased workers, strengthen benefits for senior citizens and people with disabilities, increase Cost-Of-Living-Adjustments (COLAs), and expand program benefits across-the-board.

“Social Security is an enduring feature of American life – throughout its over 80 year history, the program has provided millions of American seniors and people with disabilities with financial security,” said Sen. Booker. “To continue the success of Social Security, our nation must expand the program and extend its solvency to ensure workers can rely on these benefits for generations to come. This bill would make critical reforms to the program, increasing benefits paid out each month and more accurately measuring cost of living adjustments over time. In addition to these reforms, the legislation would also extend the solvency of Social Security for 75 years by closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans.”

“Social Security touches the lives of every American, directly or indirectly. It impacts the lives of older Americans, people with disabilities, and wounded warriors. We must not only protect our Social Security system, we must strengthen and expand it,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “In 2020, Social Security lifted 22 million Americans out of poverty, including more than 16 million older adults. We have to make sure that it’s giving retirees and their families the support they need – and the support they spent their entire lives earning. For so many retirees and their families all over the state of New York, and all over the country, Social Security is truly a matter of survival. Social Security is essential, and it’s something that I will do everything in my power to protect and strengthen.”

“Social Security has provided financial security for older Americans and disabled workers for nearly 90 years, and these days we’re seeing just how crucial it is,” said Sen. Merkley. “As costs of living continue to rise, more and more seniors who rely on Social Security find themselves struggling to afford their basic living expenses, including housing, prescription drugs, food and transportation. We need to increase benefits and strengthen the trust fund, and this bill does both. I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand these important benefits that older Americans have earned through their lifetimes of hard work.”

“For decades, Americans have depended on the Social Security benefits they’ve earned,” said Sen. Van Hollen. “Yet this vital program has been under attack, threatening working families’ financial security. We’ve got to fight to protect it and to ensure Americans can rely on it for years to come. That’s why I’m joining Senator Sanders to introduce this legislation to shore up Social Security and provide the certainty folks deserve.”

“American workers pay into Social Security on the sacred promise of protection if disability strikes and a dignified retirement in their golden years. We need to make good on that promise,” said Sen. Whitehouse. “This bill delivers for seniors by expanding benefits to cover rising costs and ensuring the long-term solvency of the program.”

More than 15 members cosponsored Rep. DeFazio’s companion legislation in the House, including Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Chuy García (D-Ill.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-D.C.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

The Social Security Expansion Act has also garnered the support of more than 50 major organizations, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Social Security Works, Alliance for Retired Americans, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association, United Electrical, Radio, & Machine Workers of America (UE), and the Economic Policy Institute.

Read the bill text, here.
Read the fact sheet and full list of supporting organizations, here.
Read the Social Security Administration’s analysis of the legislation, here.

Image courtesy of WIkimedia Commons/AFGE
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11 thoughts on “Sanders, Warren introduce legislation to expand Social Security by $2,400, extend solvency for 75 years

  1. Occasionally I even agree with Sanders and this is one of them. I think that adjusting social security taxes to tax higher earners and using it to keep SS solvent is a good idea. Adjusting SS payments is also over due, especially for the lower earning recipients. It’s easy for many to bleat about how they should have saved more while they were working but lower earners are hard pressed just to stay housed and fed, let alone being able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    The inflation adjustment to payments is a joke as it doesn’t keep pace with the price increases of most commonly used categories of goods and services.

    I have no problem with seeing to it that retirees who worked their whole lives and paid into SS get enough to actually live on it.

    As for Disability Insurance, that sector is ripe for reform. Way too many getting money because they have a back ache, “nerves “, anxiety, substance abuse problems etc. This program cries out for a cleanup.

  2. Bernie is as corrupt as they come…..along with most in Washington; even when someone gets elected they cannot sustain unless they comply with business as usual…..and thus the corruption continues and trickles down into our state and local gov……
    Get rid of all of these geriatric panhandlers……
    If you hadn’t robbed ss years ago, it would be as it was planned to be ..now
    $$$ is all they can see…….and spend
    so tired of all this hoopla
    november 22…..make changes
    someone start a new party for the people …most all committees and governing boards have an “odd” number of participants so decisions can be made; and look at us the 2 party plan……..well its not working so lets get onto the “ODD” s and change this situation ……..

  3. Whenever these two socialistic folks propose to “rescue” the Social Security System, they NEVER propose reform, such as eliminating free loaders, i.e., NOT MAKING PAYMENTS TO PEOPLE, INCLUDING ILLEGALS, WHO NEVER CONTRIBUTED A DIME TO THE SYSTEM

  4. Don’t worry folks, Social Sanders knows we have a money tree or the tooth fairy so
    funding this is no problem.

    Hey Bernie, what’s up with the National Debt, yeah that’s what I thought !!

  5. I used to work for a billionaire couple. Occasionally i would be working in their house and sometimes i would bring them their mail. They both received social security checks monthly along with their Vanguard and Fidelity earnings reports. Before we send people more social security money, (that we dont have!) maybe we could tidy up the current system a little?

  6. It is just another scam. They will never raise the taxes on the billionaires without first getting rid of their ability to shift money to their tax shelters, where they make even more money. Robert Kennedy Jr. writes about that in his well documented book on the pharma scam, “The Real Anthony Fauci.”

  7. I just can’t believe how STUPID Bernie and Warren and all their cohorts are. Tax the rich! Give it all away! Here we go. We are now VENEZUELA. Ain’t this grand? We have to get rid of these people.

  8. There is no Social Security surplus, that is just a lie. The way it is working is the crooks in DC borrowed the money decades ago and replaced it with treasury bonds. So when the SS agency needs money it cashes in the bonds to cover its deficit. Of course the government is operating in the red so to cover those bonds it must print money which means it really goes onto the debt. So dishonest.

    • So the trustees says there is this big surplus and you, of infinite intelligence above all others say that there is no surplus. Sure, you have it right – in your own small mind.

  9. AND top 1% earners in US currently pay 40% of our tax burden. Tell the feds to stop spending! Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will pay for this with their suffrage. Bernie has got to go.

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