U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today hosted representatives of AARP and advocates for the disabled to defend Social Security from attacks by some in Congress.
Social Security provides benefits to more than 124,000 Vermonters, including nearly 20,000 persons with disabilities and almost 10,000 children.
"Social Security is a promise that we cannot and must not break. For 75 years, through good times and bad, Social Security has succeeded in providing a dignified retirement for millions of senior citizens," Sanders said.
Sanders said he will oppose efforts to privatize Social Security, cut benefits or increase the retirement age to 70. He also supports providing $250 in emergency relief for seniors and disabled veterans facing the second straight year without a cost-of-living adjustment.
"Republicans have falsely claimed that Social Security is going bankrupt and is in crisis. This is a lie. As Vermont's senator, I will do everything that I can to make sure that Social Security benefits are not cut, the retirement age is not raised to 70, and this life and death program is not privatized.
"Let's be clear: Social Security is not in crisis and it is not going bankrupt. Social Security has not added a dime to either the federal deficit or the national debt. In fact, Social Security is running a $2.6 trillion surplus that is projected to grow to over $4 trillion by the year 2023. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that even if no changes are made, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits to every eligible American until the year 2039. After that, it will still have enough funding to pay about 80 percent of promised benefits.
"While we all believe that over the long-term, we have got to reduce our record-breaking $13.7 trillion national debt and unsustainable federal deficit, we should not reduce the deficit on the backs of our nation's most vulnerable seniors by cutting Social Security benefits.
Joining Sanders at the press conference in his Senate office here were Janet Dermody, deputy director of the Vermont Center for Independent Living; Tom Davis, president of the Community of Vermont Elders and Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, associate state director of AARP Vermont.