Current legislative proposals to fix Social Security insolvency

Nearly three months into the year, it may seem like the new 116th Congress is consumed with nearly every other issue but Social Security. But since the beginning of the year there have been several pieces of legislation introduced in the House and Senate regarding the improvement of benefits and solvency extension.

Most notable are the Social Security 2100 Act, a weeks-old bill receiving an extraordinary amount of support in the House, and the Social Security Expansion Act, a Senate bill reintroduced in this month in the 116th by 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders.

While there are several more Congressional proposals to alter Social Security, these are the bills and resolutions to keep an eye on with respect to fixing Social Security’s funding shortfall.  Each of these bills seek to some extent to protect the immediate and far-away future of Social Security—some while expanding benefits.

Click on the link for each bill title to check out its description on Congress.gov, and let us know how you feel about the current bills to fix Social Security insolvency in the comments!

The Social Security 2100 Act (S.269, H.R.860)

Sponsor: Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Larson (D-CT-1)

Cosponsors: 204

Introduced: January 30, 2019

Summary:

Across the board benefit increase of 2% for all beneficiaries.

Increased minimum benefit for low income earners such that they would receive benefits equal to at least 125% of the federal poverty level.

Tax break for beneficiaries earning under $50,000 per year (or $100,000 for married couples).

Recalculate cost-of-living adjustments using the CPI-E, a formula based strictly on the spending habits and needs of seniors.  This would result in annual raises that accurately account for the costs seniors face.

Increase Social Security funding and solvency by applying the 6.2% payroll tax on all income above $400,000 and gradually raising the payroll tax rate by 1% over 25 years.

The Social Security Expansion Act (S.478, H.R.1170)

Sponsor: Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4)

Cosponsors: 4

Introduced: February 13, 2019

Summary:

Increase benefits across-the-board by recalculating the primary insurance amount and boosting the rate of income replacement from 32% to 47% by 2025.

Recalculate cost-of-living adjustments using the CPI-E, a formula based strictly on the spending habits and needs of seniors.  This would result in annual raises that accurately account for the costs seniors face.

Increase the minimum benefit for low income earners such that they would receive an additional $1,300 per year.

Increase Social Security funding and solvency by applying the 6.2% payroll tax on all income above $250,000 and raising the net investment income surtax to 10% for high income earners.

To amend titles II and XVIII of the Social Security Act to establish a Social Security Surplus Protection Account in the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund… (H.R.1215)

Sponsor: Tim Wahlberg (R-MI-7)

Cosponsors: 0

Introduced: February 13, 2019

Summary:

H.R.1215 would establish an actual Social Security Trust Fund account in which to store surplus funds from payroll contributions.  In addition, it would require that legislation be enacted in order to remove funds from the account for uses other than Social Security obligations of the United States.

Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act of 2019 (H.R.289)

Sponsor: Tom Cole (R-OK-4)

Cosponsors: 0

Introduced: January 8, 2019

Summary:

H.R.289 seeks to establish a bipartisan panel, called the “Commission on Long Term Social Security Solvency.” The commission would consist of 13 members: one appointed by the President, 3 appointed by the House Speaker, 3 appointed by the House Minority Leader, 3 appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, and 3 appointed by the Senate Minority Leader.  These representatives would have one year from the date of the initial meeting to study and submit recommendations and legislation to achieve long term Social Security solvency.

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Medicare and Social Security provide an essential benefit for current enrollees and should be strengthened for future generations. (H.Res.59)

Sponsor: Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-8)

Cosponsors: 8

Introduced: January 17, 2019

Summary:

This House Resolution declares the House of Representatives has an obligation to fulfill the promise of Social Security to all senior citizens.  It formally states that House members should flatly reject any proposals that would cause cuts to Social Security benefits, and House members should prioritize strengthening and preserving the future of Social Security. The Resolution also seeks to address fraud and abuse within the program as a means of securing the Trust Fund.

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