This morning, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Congressman David Cicilline visited with local seniors at the Warren Senior Center to hear their concerns and discuss efforts in Congress to prevent cuts to Social Security. In particular, Whitehouse and Cicilline highlighted their opposition to the so-called "chained CPI" proposal included in the President's budget, which would cut future benefits for Social Security recipients in Warren.
Chained CPI would change the way cost-of-living increases are calculated, making an already insufficient formula even less adequate for our nation's seniors and gradually cutting Social Security benefits over time. Last month, Congressman Cicilline introduced a resolution formally opposing the use of chained CPI to calculate cost-of-living adjustments. Senator Whitehouse cosponsored a companion resolution in the Senate.
"The chained CPI proposal in President Obama's budget would jeopardize the security of our nation's seniors, and I refuse to stand by and watch seniors pay the price for a deficit Social Security had no part in creating," said Senator Whitehouse. "It was great to hear from Warren seniors this morning, and to have the chance to let them know I'll keep fighting to make sure their benefits are protected."
"I am proud to be leading the effort against chained CPI in the House," said Cicilline. "Protecting Social Security benefits will remain an important priority for me, and I will continue to fight against Social Security cuts that will make it even more difficult for Rhode Island seniors to make ends meet. I look forward to continue working with Senator Whitehouse to protect and strengthen Social Security for today's recipients and future generations."
Whitehouse, who is a founding member of the Senate's Defending Social Security Caucus, has built a strong record of advocacy for Rhode Island seniors. He is a cosponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act, which would ensure that Social Security remains solvent for the next 50 years by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share into the system.
Cicilline has led the effort in the House of Representatives to oppose the use of chained CPI in the federal budget. He is a recipient of the Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans' Social Security and Medicare Hero's Award, and has consistently opposed efforts to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits during his two terms in Congress.
Both Whitehouse and Cicilline have argued that the existing formula used to calculate annual cost-of-living adjustments shortchanges seniors, and have called for a more accurate measure of inflation -- the opposite of what chained CPI would produce.