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Larson, Kennedy Lead House Colleagues Demanding Trump Abandon Social Security Attacks

August 21, 2020
Press Release
142 lawmakers reject Trump Administration’s efforts to eliminate Social Security

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to President Donald Trump, Congressman John Larson (D-CT) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) today demanded that the Administration reverse their recent actions attempting to dismantle Social Security. Joined by more than 140 of their colleagues, Larson and Kennedy raised concerns that the effort would only serve to further harm workers in the midst of a global economic recession.

“In the midst of dual healthcare and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cutting this tax is irresponsible economic policy,” wrote the lawmakers. “First, and perhaps most importantly, this action does nothing to help the millions of Americans not currently receiving paychecks because of massive layoffs and furloughs as a result of your Administration’s failure to contain and control the impacts and spread of the virus. Second, even for workers supposedly affected, it is entirely ineffective as a stimulus measure. It merely defers payments until next year, meaning Americans will face a steeper tax bill in the coming year. Meanwhile, it does not change employers’ legal requirement to withhold the payroll taxes from paychecks. A key premise of your proposal was that deferral of this tax would mean more money goes to workers, but there is no guarantee that companies would actually do this. Moreover, the effects of this deferral will be regressive, providing little help to lower earners.

“Alarmingly, you have also threatened to extend the deferral permanently by “terminating” the payroll tax altogether, with “no reimbursement” which would permanently defund and undermine Social Security,” they continued. “According to the Center for American Progress, under this plan, the Trust Funds would not have enough to pay full benefits beginning in 2026, resulting in a 41 percent cut in benefits across the board. This callous attack on the cornerstone of Americans’ retirement security – also our nation’s number-one anti-poverty program and earned benefits program, and the financial lifeline for millions of Americans – cannot be allowed to stand. 

“In short, your ill-conceived action undermines Social Security, does not put money in the pockets of struggling, unemployed Americans, is not an effective stimulus measure, and creates unnecessary chaos among workers and employers,” they concluded. “This new half-hearted attempt to throw a bone to some will leave millions more Americans in potential financial ruin with their Social Security benefits in question. Unfortunately, we are not surprised because you have spent your entire time in the White House attacking working families with unprecedented vitriol. We demand you rescind this memorandum immediately, abandon your call to defund Social Security, and announce your support for the Heroes Act since you are not capable of developing a plan which matches the urgency that this moment demands on your own.”

The letter was signed by: Jan Schakowsky, Peter A. DeFazio, Bobby L. Rush, Veronica Escobar, Debbie Dingell, Chellie Pingree, John Garamendi, Thomas R. Suozzi, G. K. Butterfield, David N. Cicilline, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., Mark DeSaulnier, James P. McGovern, Marcy Kaptur, Gregory W. Meeks, Joe Courtney, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Danny K. Davis, Raúl M. Grijalva, TJ Cox, Tom O’Halleran, Sean Casten, Daniel T. Kildee, Suzanne Bonamici, Bill Foster, Rosa DeLauro, Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Harley Rouda, Alan Lowenthal, André Carson, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Brian Higgins, Adam Smith, Dina Titus, Brendan F. Boyle, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Joseph D. Morelle, David Trone, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Jamie Raskin, Judy Chu, Andy Levin, Stephen F. Lynch, Brenda L. Lawrence, Derek Kilmer, Earl Blumenauer, Anna G. Eshoo, Jim Himes, Salud O. Carbajal, Katie Porter, Jackie Speier, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Deutch, Tim Ryan, Marcia L. Fudge, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Anthony G. Brown, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Barbara Lee, Lois Frankel, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Gwen Moore, Joe Neguse, Peter Welch, Jahana Hayes, Linda T. Sánchez, Bradley S. Schneider, Tom Malinowski, Yvette D. Clarke, Paul D. Tonko, Grace Meng, John P. Sarbanes, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Donald Norcross, Lori Trahan, Jimmy Panetta, Doris O. Matsui, Mike Quigley, Kathy Castor, Marc Veasey, Sheila Jackson Lee, Alcee L. Hastings, Ro Khanna, Dwight Evans, Juan Vargas, Mark Takano, Madeleine Dean, Eliot Engel, Deb Haaland, Pete Aguilar, Ed Perlmutter, Suzan DelBene, Adriano Espaillat, Joyce Beatty, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Grace F. Napolitano, Terri A. Sewell, Eric Swalwell, Val Demings, Jerry McNerney, Julia Brownley, John Yarmuth, Ben Ray Luján, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Jerrold Nadler. Ayanna Pressley, William R. Keating, José E. Serrano, Dave Loebsack, Betty McCollum, Zoe Lofgren, Gerald E. Connolly, Filemon Vela, Nydia M. Velázquez, Jesús G. "Chuy" García, Kathleen M. Rice, Cheri Bustos, Jason Crow, Mike Doyle, Jared Huffman, Chrissy Houlahan, Ted Lieu, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Carolyn B. Maloney, Wm. Lacy Clay, Colin Allred, Mary Gay Scanlon, Katherine Clark, Tulsi Gabbard, Karen Bass, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Greg Stanton, Ann Kirkpatrick, Al Green, Vicente Gonzalez, Susan Wild, James R. Langevin, Donald S. Beyer Jr., and Norma Torres.