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Larson Introduces Landmark Social Security Bill

October 26, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) introduced Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust. The legislation has nearly 200 cosponsors and has been endorsed by more than 100 advocacy groups.  

 

Rep. Larson Introduces Social Security Bill

Rep. Larson speaking at the press conference behind him left to right are Reps. Sewell, Horsford, and Ocasio-Cortez

“Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust will expand benefits and strengthen Social Security. The pandemic has only underscored what we already knew and has exacerbated systemic inequities -- current benefits are not enough! 5 million seniors are living in poverty due to longstanding discrimination in the labor force that affects mostly people of color and women. These are our sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and neighbors. For too long, Congress has forsaken its duty to enhance benefits. With 10,000 Baby Boomers a day becoming eligible, and with Millennials needing Social Security more than any generation, the time for Congress to act is now,” said House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01). 

A fact sheet on the bill can be found here. 

The section-by-section can be found here 

A list of endorsing organizations can be found here 

The bill text can be found here 

The press conference can be viewed here 

 “Social Security is one of the most successful anti-poverty programs there is, but there are still faults in the program, which disproportionately disadvantage people of color. The legislation being introduced today will repair these faults, helping to address persistent racial disparities in income and wealth.  This bill will enable Social Security to bring more seniors of all backgrounds out of poverty and provide them the dignity they have earned,” said Whip James E. Clyburn 

“Subcommittee Chairman Larson is the fiercest fighter in Congress to strengthen Social Security and protect beneficiaries. I applaud his tireless commitment to preserve and expand this critical earned benefit,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal.  

“Social Security is a sacred commitment made to all Americans and a promise that must be fulfilled. As seniors and individuals with disabilities struggle to afford the costs of food, housing, and prescription drugs, this bill expands benefits and protections for millions of Americans. The Social Security 2100 Act will keep this vital lifeline solvent and ensure our nation’s bedrock social insurance program provides current and future beneficiaries with a quality standard of living,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.  

“For decades, Americans have depended on the Social Security benefits they’ve earned. Yet this vital program has been under attack, threatening working families’ financial security. That’s why we’re introducing this crucial legislation to increase and expand retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and shore up the long-term solvency of Social Security. This bill will help maintain the program’s strength and help ensure that it can continue to provide economic stability for generations to come,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

“Social Security is a critical source of income for both middle and lower-wage earners, particularly when the unexpected happens. This is especially true for Latinos, of whom, over 80 percent utilize Social Security as their primary source of retirement income, the highest of any demographic,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA). “While Social Security has served as the bedrock of the American retirement system for over 80 years, its modest benefits have not kept up with the rising costs facing seniors. This bill makes a safe and secure retirement possible for many more Americans, and it improves the program’s long-term financing so that we can set the next generation of retirees up for success.” 

“Social Security is one of the greatest success stories in our nation’s history,” said Rep. Pascrell. “After 86 years, it still stands as a monument to decency, dignity, and the birthright of hard-working Americans. Yet, it has come under unrelenting attack. Without aggressive action, Social Security lurches toward insolvency. We have a sacred responsibility to assure its preservation. Chairman Larson’s prudent legislation provides fully paid-for benefit enhancements through the end of the century and it keeps President Biden’s promise to not raise taxes on middle-class families. This is a no-brainer.” 

“As a Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the House Democratic Task Force on Aging and Families, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Social Security 2100 Act. The powerful words ‘A Sacred Trust’ are a part of this bill because this is a promise to all Americans we must preserve and protect,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky. “Social Security is a national treasure. Hardworking Americans put their sacred trust in Congress to protect that treasure. It is past time to improve the program, particularly for women, who make up 55 percent of all Social Security recipients yet often lose wages due to caregiving responsibilities. Without Social Security benefits, about 4 in 10 Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line. Social Security benefits lift more than 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty.” 

“Social Security has saved millions of American seniors from having to make impossible choices, like whether they should buy groceries or fill a prescription, or pay their rent or visit a loved one,” said Rep. Blumenauer, a member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. “But given revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the future of this program is more uncertain than ever. That’s why it’s essential that Congress act now to make sure everyone is paying their fair share into this program, lower costs for seniors, and ensure that Social Security remains solvent through 2100.” 

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) a member of the Social Security Subcommittee, called the need to pass the bill and avoid benefit cuts crucial, “For the millions of Americans who paid into Social Security their whole working lives, this is simply unacceptable. For the millions more who depend on this program to meet their everyday needs and care for the disabled, this is a disaster. We have the power to not only save, but improve and expand, the most effective social program in American history. We have the power to ensure every American a dignified retirement after a lifetime of work and contribution.” 

“Social Security is one of our country’s most successful promises, with millions of Americans relying on Social Security as their primary source of income when they retire. This has helped keep millions healthy and out of poverty. But, due to years of underfunding, Social Security is not the guarantee it once was. That is why I am proud to join Rep. Larson in introducing the Social Security 2100 Act to help keep our promise by raising benefits, improving cost of living adjustments, and ensuring that any minimum benefit is set above the poverty line. With this bill, we can continue to ensure a life of work is rewarded with a safe and secure retirement,” said Rep. Judy Chu.  

"Social Security is essential for millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities, and Chair Larson's Social Security 2100 Act only improves its life changing benefits. I am honored that this legislation includes my proposals to renew student benefits for children of retired, deceased, or disabled workers to encourage them to pursue higher education and a benefit increase for the those who have been receiving benefits for 20 years or more – beneficiaries who are often the oldest seniors and may be even more likely to be financially vulnerable. 

“With the Social Security 2100 Act, we can tackle poverty, better support low-income workers, women, and children and build upon our commitment to ensure that Americans can retire and age with dignity,” said Rep. Gwen Moore. 

“Nevadans work hard and pay into Social Security for decades – but even with next year’s benefit increase, many of our seniors will struggle to make ends meet. Today, 144,265 Social Security recipients in Nevada’s Fourth District receive $203 million in benefits each month, averaging just over $1,400 per person. As the cost of living rises, that is barely enough to cover the rent, let alone other expenses,” said Congressman Steven Horsford“The Social Security 2100 Act would increase Social Security benefits, protect against inflation, and modernize Social Security to ensure that government employees, caregivers, people with disabilities, and surviving spouses and children receive the benefits they deserve. No senior should retire into poverty, and the Social Security 2100 Act will take common-sense steps to help Nevada seniors thrive.” 

“As a proud member of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, I know that Social Security is a critical lifeline for so many hard-working Americans in Alabama’s 7th district and across this nation,” said Rep. Sewell. “We should not only protect it, but improve it and expand it. With this bill, Social Security 2100, we’re ensuring that every worker can retire with dignity after a lifetime of work.” 

“There isn’t a member of Congress more focused on fighting for American seniors than Rep. John Larson. Overhauling a core program like Social Security is a monumental challenge, but John has never stopped working closely with economists and seniors to get the job done—he’s become the go-to leader on fixing Social Security for American seniors, and we’re very lucky in Connecticut to have him fighting for our communities,” said Congressman Courtney. “No Social Security beneficiary should receive a below-poverty level check each month, especially not after paying into the program over the course of their working lives. Between seniors, veterans, children and other Americans, over 150,000 people in eastern Connecticut are relying on Social Security each month. Our bill would give them a much-needed boost in benefits, and extend the solvency of the program to ensure future generations won’t get short-changed. Proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill.” 

“One in five retirees rely only on Social Security for their income. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vast inequities in our economy and health care system, it’s more vital than ever that we strengthen and expand Social Security for the millions of Americans who rely on it,” said Congressman Ryan.  “By protecting Social Security Trust Funds and preventing it from future cuts, this bill will help ensure that every American can age with dignity and respect.” 

"We commend Congressman Larson for his years-long commitment to expanding and strengthening Social Security.  Rep. Larson understands that too many seniors are struggling to meet basic living expenses, like housing, prescription drugs, and health care. He knows that Social Security wasn’t set in stone when it was created in 1935, and that the program was intended to be expanded as seniors’ needs change.  His legislation gives seniors a much-needed boost in benefits and an improved COLA formula --- and extends Social Security’s solvency. We are gratified that so many of Rep. Larson’s colleagues are signing-on as cosponsors --- and hope that the House will, at long last, enact this crucial piece of legislation for American seniors,” said Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.  

“Social Security Works strongly endorses Representative John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust, which expands Social Security's modest benefits. Thanks to Representative Larson’s visionary leadership and tireless work, Democrats are united and ready to take action to protect and expand Social Security. The entire nation owes Representative Larson an enormous debt of gratitude for his powerful leadership and legislation,” said Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works. 

"In America, millions of Social Security beneficiaries are having to make the choice between food and medicine on a daily basis. This is unacceptable in the richest and greatest country in the world," said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. "Black American, Hispanic American and Asian American Social Security beneficiaries were disproportionately affected during the pandemic, exacerbating that inequality. A recent poll indicated that our nation's seniors voted in the last election with the hope and expectation of seeing improvements to the Social Security benefits they have earned. Voters will remember this when they vote. The Alliance for Retired Americans 100% supports Representative Larson's bill, 'Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust.'" 

"Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is pleased to support the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, which would make significant improvements in the Social Security benefits that millions of veterans with disabilities and their families rely on," said Shaun Castle, Deputy Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America. "As a veterans service organization representing veterans with significant disabilities, PVA is keenly aware of the critical role Social Security plays in the lives of our members and their families and we urge swift action on this critical legislation." 

“AFGE is proud to endorse the Social Security 2100 Sacred Trust Act and the many ways it both strengthens the program and expands benefits.  We are particularly supportive of the bill’s repeal of the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision which unfairly reduce earned benefits of public employees and their surviving spouses,” said Everett Kelley, National President, American Federation of Government Employees.  

“The National Organization for Women has long advocated for improvements in Social Security that would benefit women and Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust Act meets all expectations.  Across-the-board benefit increases, an update for the COLA, improved benefits for widows and widowers, increased benefits for the oldest old, and especially caregiver credits so that people (mainly women) are not penalized for taking time out of the paid workforce to care for children and other dependents. With so many working women not able to save enough for retirement due to pay discrimination and many elderly women living near the poverty line, these benefit improvements are desperately needed,” said National Organization for Women (NOW) president Christian F. Nunes. 

“The Arc of the United States supports Chairman Larson’s Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust legislation. This bill would make our Social Security system stronger for everyone, including 10 million children, adults, and seniors with disabilities across the United States who rely on this fundamental program. Social Security disability and survivors benefits are crucially important to the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and we’re particularly excited to see a fix included to address the long standing benefit cliff for people with disabilities who want to work,” said Bethany Lilly, Senior Director of Income Policy, The Arc. 

“As a union that has advocated for many years for expanding Social Security benefits while extending its solvency well into the future, and funding it through a progressive pay-for that does not negatively impact working families, IFPTE is proud to endorse the Social Security 2100 Act, which achieves all of these goals. We believe that passing this legislation is of utmost importance toward providing current and future retirees the security they have earned and deserve,” said Matt Biggs, IFPTE President. 

“NOSSCR supports the reintroduction of the Social Security 2100 Act. NOSSCR is especially pleased that the bill addresses NOSSCR’s top legislative priorities, increasing the fee cap for claimants’ representatives and ending the five-month waiting period before claimants are able to receive their Social Security disability benefits. The inclusion of these provisions results in a fairer and more efficient Social Security Disability program and increases claimants’ access to qualified representation. We have worked closely with Chairman Larson and his staff on these important provisions in the past and commend Chairman Larson for their inclusion in this bill. NOSSCR looks forward to working with Chairman Larson and the many co-sponsors of this legislation to secure a timely passage of this bill,” said Barbara R. Silverstone, Executive Director, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). 

“For too long, nearly 3 million educators and other public servants have been hit with Social Security’s unfair Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination (WEP) provisions. GPO and WEP penalize educators, nurses, first responders, and other state and local government employees who dedicate their lives to public service, depriving them of the Social Security benefits they have earned. That is why NEA is proud to support Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust legislation to fix this issue by fully repealing GPO and WEP, while expanding Social Security benefits for all beneficiaries, which will help retired educators live with dignity,” said National Education Association President Becky Pringle. 

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