Rep. Linda Sánchez Introduces Strengthening Social Security Act of 2016
Washington, DC – Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Mark Pocan (D-WI) along with 45 original co-sponsors today introduced H.R. 5952, the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2016:
Rep. Linda Sánchez: “Social Security is the bedrock of the American retirement system. It ensures that after a lifetime of hard work, our grandmothers and grandfathers can retire with dignity and security. Nearly 59 million Americans rely on Social Security for all or part of their earnings. When fully implemented, the Strengthening Social Security Act will raise monthly benefits and extend the life of the trust fund from 2034, to 2048. We must do more to secure the safety net for our grandmothers and grandfathers. Passing the Strengthening Social Security Act is the necessary first step.”
Rep. Mike Honda: “This year, Americans relying on Social Security did not receive any cost of living increase, despite rapidly rising healthcare costs and other expenses. This is not acceptable. We have a simple solution, however, to ensure that senior citizens have the resources they need and that Social Security remains robust for future generations. That’s why I am proud to join Rep. Linda Sánchez to introduce the Strengthening Social Security Act. This could mean the difference between comfort and hunger for our senior friends and family, between health and severe sickness, and even between shelter and homelessness.”
Rep. Mark Pocan: “Social Security is a promise we make to people like my mother, who rely on these benefits for financial security. This bill ensures the health and prosperity of our seniors, our veterans, and people with disabilities. Expanding and strengthening the program is critical to protecting the livelihoods of our seniors while providing a boost to our overall economy.”
Nancy Altman, Founding Co-Director, Social Security Works: “Social Security Works strongly applauds Representative Linda Sanchez for her visionary leadership in sponsoring the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2016. Among its many strengths, this important legislation provides current and future beneficiaries with a much needed increase in Social Security’s modest benefits. It also restores the trust funds to long range actuarial balance. This legislation represents a key part of the solution to the nation's looming retirement income crisis as well as other serious challenges facing the nation."
Max Ritchman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare: “America’s seniors understand all too well that our nation faces a retirement crisis and improving Social Security benefits is vital to keeping millions from poverty. Rep. Linda Sanchez’s ‘Strengthening Social Security Act’ makes several important improvements for seniors by: phasing out the payroll tax cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share, creating a Cost of Living adjustment for the elderly and boosting benefits for all retirees including widows/widowers. NCPSSM strongly supports this legislation and applauds Congresswoman Sanchez for doing the right thing for America’s seniors and their families.”
Terry O'Neill, President of the National Organization of Women: “Women are especially vulnerable to financial insecurity during their retirement years. After a lifetime spent working for lower wages than men, often in jobs without pensions or retirement savings accounts, many rely on Social Security for support. For nearly thirty percent of female beneficiaries over the age of 65, social security is virtually their only source of income. The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2016 would expand the resources available to these individuals. Increasing monthly insurance benefits for widows and widowers, and adjusting the means for calculating seniors’ cost-of-living requirements, will have a measurable impact on women’s lives.”
Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans: “Seniors are struggling to make ends meet. This bill would give the average beneficiary an additional $800 per year to help pay their living expenses and we applaud Representatives Sanchez and Honda for introducing it.”
Bill Samuel, Director of Government Affairs, AFL-CIO: “Working families applaud Rep. Linda Sanchez for tackling the nation’s retirement income crisis with legislation expanding Social Security’s vital earned-benefits. The Strengthen Social Security Act provides across-the-board benefit increases, makes COLA’s more accurate and strengthens Social Security’s solvency for future generations.”
Strengthening Social Security Coalition: “On behalf of the over 350 national, state, and local organizations that form the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, we enthusiastically endorse Representative Linda Sanchez’s legislation, the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2016. Her well-crafted bill builds upon President Franklin Roosevelt’s foundation by expanding the Social Security program in a number of important ways, while strengthening the program's long range funding."
The Strengthening Social Security Act will increase benefits, ensure the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) adequately reflects the cost of living, and improve the financial condition of the Trust Fund.
Specifically, this bill:
- Increases the formula factor for the first bend point to 95% over 5 years.
- Increases the first bend point by 15%.
- Replaces CPI-W with CPI-E for the purpose of calculating COLA’s.
- Phases out the taxable cap of $118,500.
- Increases widow/ers benefits to the greater of 75% of combined benefits, or the Primary Insurance Amount.
- Holds SSI recipients harmless for any increase in benefits enacted through this bill.
Through these changes, beneficiaries can expect to see an increase in monthly benefits. While more needs to be done to preserve and protect Social Security for future generations, these changes are an important first step and will give seniors the peace of mind they deserve.
Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), William Keating (D-MA), James Langevin (D-RI), John Larson (D-CT), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), John Yarmuth (D-KY)