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Sen. Franken's Senate Resolution Urges No Social Security, Veterans Benefits Cuts

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A resolution introduced with the support of U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and 14 of his colleagues today expresses the sense of Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (Chained CPI) should not be used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security or benefits to disabled veterans or their families.

"Social Security is a promise America has made to its seniors, and in order to keep that promise, we need to make some changes," said Sen. Franken. "But Chained CPI is an unfair and misguided proposal that disproportionally affects our oldest and most vulnerable seniors and I will fight against these benefits cuts."

Among the highlights of the Concurrent Resolution:

-The Social Security program has no borrowing authority, has accumulated assets of $2,700,000,000,000, and, therefore, does not contribute to the Federal budget deficit;

-The Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund projects that the Trust Fund can pay full benefits through 2032;

-The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that using the Chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs would reduce Social Security benefits by 0.25 percent per year, resulting in a reduction in outlays of $127,000,000,000 over the first decade;

-Reductions in Social Security benefits from using the Chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs would continue to compound over time, and the AARP Public Policy Institute estimates that the reductions would grow to 3 percent after 10 years and 8.5 percent after 30 years;

-Social Security Works estimates that using the Chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs would reduce annual Social Security benefits of the average earner by $658 at age 75, $1,147 at age 85, and $1,622 at age 95;

-The Department of Veterans Affairs provides more than 3,200,000 veterans with disability compensation benefits as a result of injuries or illnesses sustained during, or as a result of, military service;

-Adopting the Chained CPI would also cut the benefits of more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children who have lost a loved one in battle by cutting Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits that average less than $17,000 per year.

The resolution was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) with the support of Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Oreg.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

National groups lending their support to this effort include: the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the American Association of University Women, AARP, CREDO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Civic Action, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Social Security Works, the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, United Steelworkers, VetsFirst, and Wider Opportunities for Women.

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