U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), a member of the House Budget Committee, today expressed concern with the budget proposal released by President Obama. Pocan is disappointed with the decision to include a change in how benefits are calculated for Social Security recipients, also known as a chained CPI. According to the Social Security Administration, moving to a chained CPI formula would reduce an 85-year-old's benefits by more than $1,100 a year.
"The best way to reduce our long-term deficit is to get people back to work, and the president's budget includes many strong initiatives that will help grow our economy and create jobs for south central Wisconsin. I am particularly pleased that the president's proposal increases investments in the kind of innovative research and development that is taking place at the University of Wisconsin, while also providing $50 billion for infrastructure projects that will put people back to work on much needed upgrades to our roads, bridges and airports. The president's budget smartly focuses on promoting advanced manufacturing, as well as supporting small business owners through a tax credit for hiring new workers. His budget also replaces the irresponsible and indiscriminate sequester cuts that are currently leading to furloughs and unnecessary hardships in the second district.
"However, while I respect the President's desire to achieve a comprehensive and bipartisan budget proposal, I cannot support decreasing social security benefits to those just getting by, especially in the years when they need it most. Social security is a moral promise of economic security we make to our seniors, our veterans, people with disabilities, and our children, and it is a promise we cannot break. Social security has not contributed to our current fiscal problems, and cuts of any kind, including a chained CPI, should not be on the bargaining table. I cannot support any proposal that includes these types of Social Security benefit reductions.
"I am proud to have signed onto a letter to the President with 106 of my Democratic colleagues explicitly expressing our opposition to chained CPI, and to any cuts to Social Security, to Medicare and to Medicaid benefits. Instead of cutting benefits to those who can least afford it, we should look at commonsense entitlement reforms, such as lifting the cap on earnings subject to the social security payroll tax, which would help extend the solvency of this critical program.
"As the budget process continues, I hope to work with the President and my colleagues in Congress on balanced, substantive steps we can take to create jobs, reduce our long-term deficits and support our seniors and working families in Wisconsin."