Congressman Rooney will never vote to raise the retirement age, privatize Social Security, or reduce Social Security benefits to retirees and near retirees. He firmly believes Social Security is a contract Congress has made with our retirees and has an obligation to uphold.
Congress continues to face the challenging task of ensuring the long-term viability of Social Security. In Florida's 16th District alone, roughly 186 thousand seniors are receiving Social Security benefits. As your Representative, Rooney recognizes that Congress needs to act to ensure that our children's and grandchildren's Social Security benefits will be there in the future.
A significant gap between what the government promises to pay in benefits and what it expects to collect in Social Security taxes is growing. By 2017, the Social Security trust funds are expected to start paying more benefits annually than the system will collect in payroll and income taxes. This is largely due to the aging baby-boom generation, expected continued low fertility rates (as compared to the baby-boom period), and increasing life expectancy. As demographics change and costs increase, the challenge is to ensure that the Social Security system is strengthened for tomorrow's retirees, without changing benefits to our nation's current recipients or near retirees.
As Social Security recipients across Florida found out this past October, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2009 was one of the largest in recent memory at 5.8%. Unfortunately, the Administration announced in March that Social Security recipients would not receive a COLA for 2010. This only reiterates the need for seniors to have stability and consistency in their yearly benefit.
To that end, Congressman Rooney cosponsored H.R. 2365, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) introduced this bipartisan legislation which guarantees our seniors a much needed COLA increase in their Social Security checks each month. Seniors need a pricing index that takes into account the unique goods and services they purchase, such as healthcare and prescription drugs, and H.R. 2365 does just that.