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The Fierce Urgency to Vote on Social Security 

December 7, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) held a hearing entitled “The Fierce Urgency of Now – Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust.” 

"Today’s hearing made it clear, there is a fierce urgency of now to vote on Social Security. Seniors, people with disabilities, widows, and other beneficiaries cannot wait. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: ‘This is no time to engage in cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.’ The Republican witnesses today call instead to cut benefits or privatize Social Security, despite the fact that the majority of Americans support expanding Social Security. Americans can’t wait, it’s time to move Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust forward,” said Larson.  

“It is urgent, indeed, imperative, that this Congress vote on expanding Social Security to address the nation’s looming retirement income crisis, as well as other challenges confronting our country,” said Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works. “The Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust is a solution. It is wise policy and represents the will of the people. It will improve the economy, create jobs, and add substantially to the security of working families.” 

“With so many retirees worried about the high cost of their medications and essentials, an increase in their earned Social Security benefits is critical....” said Bette Marafino, President of the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans. “Before Social Security there were poor houses across the country. We don't want to go back to those days. It’s time for Congress to recognize this crisis, and pass the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust Act now. Retirees can’t wait.” 

“Even before the pandemic, Social Security provided the foundation of women’s retirement security—but the need for modest, targeted improvements has long been evident. Without action, women will continue to bear the brunt of a lifetime of inequities in their older years, and will feel the additional, detrimental impact of the COVID recession,” said Amy Matsui, Director of Income Security at the National Women’s Law Center. “The National Women’s Law Center strongly endorses H.R. 5723, ‘Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust,’ which would improve the retirement security of women of color, and women more generally. The Center further urges the Congress to vote on the bill without delay.” 

“This legislation will help expand benefits for all Social Security beneficiaries, extend the solvency of the Social Security trust fund and improve the Social Security System. It is imperative that Congress act to enact the Social Security 2100 Act.... The disappearance of traditional pensions and lack of retirement savings have forced more and more Americans to rely on Social Security. Nearly 50% of retired Americans today rely on Social Security for half their income and 1 in 4 Americans over 65 rely on Social Security for 90% of their income,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize why we believe it is critical to address Social Security’s issues now. Social Security has long been an extremely popular program across the political spectrum. It has provided security and financial stability for hard-working Americans irrespective of where they live, where they work or how much income they earn. Social Security has the power to bring our country together, and to give Congress a bipartisan issue to rally around for the good of the American people,” said Max Richtman, President and CEO of National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. 

“Since the late 1950s, military service has been covered under Social Security. These earned benefits have provided millions of veterans and their families with a measure of security in retirement. Social Security has offered support for many other veterans and servicemembers facing sudden disability or onset of serious illness. And in those circumstances when a servicemember or veteran dies, Social Security has sustained millions of their survivors. Roughly nine million veterans receive Social Security benefits – either retirement or disability – accounting for 18 percent of all adult beneficiaries....” said Shaun Castle, Deputy Executive Director of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “This legislation [Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust] demonstrates that preserving and strengthening Social Security can be done without causing harm to beneficiaries, many of whom rely heavily on its programs for their economic security. PVA stands ready to work with you and your colleagues in advancing this legislation to extend and enhance Social Security.” 

“Let me begin by saying that the National Hispanic Council on Aging supports the Social Security 2100 Act because it would be a first step toward expanding benefits and strengthening the program for future generations,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging. “Social security impacts every American. It provides a foundation on which American workers can build on to plan for their retirement. It also provides valuable social insurance protection to workers who become disabled, and to families when a breadwinner dies.... Hispanic and Latino Americans rely on social security for a greater portion of their retirement income over a longer period due to their longer life expectancy.... Hispanics face many health care related challenges upon retirement. Any threat to their social security benefits would further challenge and complicate their ability to stay healthy. Threats to social security could force Hispanics to make tough choices between health, food, and housing. Hispanic Americans continue to have the highest uninsured rates of any other racial/ethnic group. Social security provides many with a peace of mind.” 

 

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