Today, in an effort to prevent the privatization of Social Security by the GOP, Senator Bernie Sanders (I -- Vermont) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D -- Queens and Brooklyn) announced legislation that would require a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and House before changes could be made to the Social Security program. Sanders hopes to introduce the bill as an amendment on the Senate floor this week.
The Social Security Protection Act would prohibit Congress from cutting the benefits of current or future Social Security recipients without the vote of at least two-thirds of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R - WI), Chair of the House Budget Committee, has been a long-time champion for the privatization of Social Security, which would put the retirement savings of over 54 million senior citizens in limbo. The legislation sponsored by Sanders and Weiner would help safeguard the Social Security program and protect its participants by ensuring that only a true bipartisan effort -- not misguided partisan politics -- could amend the most successful program in our nation's history.
Without Social Security, an average individual would have to save an additional $225,000 over their working career to replace the benefits that this program provides in retirement. If privatized, there is no telling how much more seniors would have to work in order to protect against the stock market's cyclical nature and inevitable downturns.
"Congress should not be able to cut the hard-earned Social Security benefits of current or future eligible recipients without a two-thirds vote by the Senate and the House," Sanders said. "Our legislation does not prohibit Congress from cutting Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age or privatizing this important program. It simply ensures that a supermajority would be needed before Congress could take any of these actions."
"Social Security is an intergenerational contract that has never been broken, and the GOP has pledged to attack its very foundation," Weiner said. "This bill would arm us for the coming battle."
Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, the Social Security program has been, and continues to be, a vital safety net for millions of Americans across the country.