U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) this week joined U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA-38) to introduce the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013, H.R. 3118, which would increase current benefits while making Social Security stronger for future generations.
"Right now, millionaires and billionaires are being given a free pass: an absolute cap on their contributions to Social Security," said Holt, the bill's lead cosponsor. "No matter how many millions of dollars they earn, they don't contribute even a penny more in taxes. This is wrong. It's time to preserve and expand Social Security by asking the wealthy to pay the same Social Security tax rate as everyone else."
The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013 improves the short-term and long-term health of Social Security in three ways. First, H.R. 3118 would increase benefits for all Social Security beneficiaries by about $70 per month.
Second, the Strengthening Social Security Act would change the way the Social Security Administration calculates the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), ensuring that benefits better reflect the increasing costs facing seniors today.
Third, H.R. 3118 would phase out the current taxable cap of $113,700 to ensure that wealthy Americans contribute the same percentage of their wage earnings to Social Security as everyone else.
Combined, these changes would extend the life of the Social Security Trust Fund by an additional 16 years, through 2049. The changes also would help strengthen Social Security's finances over even longer time periods; the bill would close more than half of the program's 75-year actuarial deficit.
"Americans who have worked hard their entire lives have the right to retire with dignity and financial security," said Sánchez, who introduced the bill in the House. "That is the promise Social Security continues to keep for millions of Americans who count on their earned benefits to make ends meet. Our seniors' "golden years' should be just that--living in good health, without financial insecurity. The Strengthening Social Security Act not only improves the standard of living for current and future beneficiaries, but it would extend the solvency of one of our country's most successful anti-poverty programs."
H.R. 3118 is the House companion to S. 567, introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) in March, and has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee, as well as the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The Strengthening Social Security Act has garnered support from Social Security Works, Strengthen Social Security Campaign, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Campaign for Community Change, Paralyzed Veterans of America, UAW, The ARC, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Education Association, United Steelworkers, and the Senior Citizens League.