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Reps. Sewell, Larson introduce legislation to increase social security benefits, COLAs

Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell, D-Alabama, and Congressman John Larson, D-Connecticut, introduced the Social Security 2100 Act on Wednesday. The sponsors say that the legislation would 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.”

“Today, over 200 Members of Congress came together on the anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s birth to honor his legacy and to enhance and expand the nation’s most successful insurance program, Social Security, which touches the lives of every American,” Larson said. “With 10,000 baby boomers becoming eligible for Social Security every day, the time to act is now. The Social Security 2100 Act will provide economic security not just for today’s seniors but for future generations, too.”

“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 added. “I’m proud to partner with my Democratic colleagues to reverse that attack and strengthen these critically important social safety net programs.”

“Social Security has not had any significant adjustments made since 1983, when Tip O’Neill was speaker and Ronald Reagan was president,” Larson said. “It’s time for Congress and the president to come together again, just like Speaker O’Neill and President Reagan did to make this a reality. President Trump was the only Republican during the 2016 Presidential campaign who stood up and said he wasn’t going to cut Social Security. The time to expand Social Security is now. Let’s create an actual solution for millions of Americans and get something done.”

The Social Security 2100 Act would provide an across-the-board benefit increase of approximately 2 percent for current and new beneficiaries of social security. The sponsors say that a modest boost in benefits would strengthen the retirement system. The legislation would also change the cost-of-living adjustment so that it takes into account the true costs incurred by seniors. The sponsors say that the provision will help seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities. The legislation would set a new minimum benefit so someone who works their whole life does not retire into poverty. The new minimum benefit would be set at 25 percent above the poverty line.

The bill would also provide 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.

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More than a million Alabamians rely on Social Security. The program lifted 437,878 Alabamans out of poverty in 2016. Sewell said the program is sound policy and makes economic sense. Social Security generates over $23 billion in economic output in Alabama alone.

According to usdebtclock.org the cost of Social Security is just over a trillion dollars.

Sewell is serving her fifth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and is the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a chief deputy whip in the House Democratic Caucus and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, serves as vice chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus and vice chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition. She is also the co-chair of the Expand Social Security Caucus.

Larson is the chairman of the Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee.

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,697 articles for APR. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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