House Dems to Pelosi: hold vote for bill expanding Social Security

“It is Congress’ responsibility to ensure that Social Security’s benefits are protected and improved,” says a letter to the speaker. “It’s time we deliver.”

by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams
May 26, 2022
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Activists participate in a rally urging the expansion of Social Security benefits in front of the White House on July 13, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democratic leaders of three U.S. congressional caucuses and a task force on Tuesday sent a letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to swiftly bring a bill that would expand and strengthen Social Security to the floor for a vote.

“We need to expand Social Security’s modest benefits so that everyone in America can enjoy a secure retirement.”
The chairs of the Congressional Tri-Caucus—made up of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)—joined with top members of the Task Force on Aging and Families (TFAF) for the effort.

“We know how important H.R. 5723—the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust—is to all Americans but particularly seniors and people of color,” states the letter to Pelosi (D-Calif), which promotes legislation introduced last October by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.).

Welcoming the development in a statement Tuesday, Larson said that “increasing Social Security benefits would uplift everyone but would be especially impactful for people of color in our country, as they are more likely to rely on these benefits.”

“I’m honored Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust has the support of the Tri-Caucus and the Task Force on Aging and Families because they know what some of our nation’s most vulnerable need,” he added. “We will continue working together to bring this bill for a vote so we can deliver the improved benefits our nation’s beneficiaries need now!”

The lawmakers’ letter to Pelosi highlights that “importantly, H.R. 5723 not only expands benefits both across-the-board and in targeted ways, it cuts Social Security’s projected shortfall by more than half.”

“The modest benefits Social Security currently provides are a lifeline for many of our constituents. Whether they be retired seniors, disabled veterans, or children who’ve lost a parent—millions rely on Social Security,” the letter explains. “Yet we know from our witness testimony and town halls that parents and grandparents often must choose between putting food on the table for their children or keeping a roof over their heads.”

President Joe Biden “has called Social Security a ‘sacred trust,'” the letter notes, arguing that not only is improving the program “wise policy and winning politics,” but also “it is Congress’ responsibility to ensure that Social Security’s benefits are protected and improved. It’s time we deliver.”

In addition to having over 200 co-sponsors, the bill is backed by advocacy organizations, including Social Security Works.

“Social Security provides crucial economic security for all Americans,” said the group’s president, Nancy Altman, Tuesday. “These benefits are particularly vital for people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and others who have faced discrimination. We need to expand Social Security’s modest benefits so that everyone in America can enjoy a secure retirement, no matter where they are from, who they love, or what they look like.”

“We stand with House Democrats in the CBC, CHC, CAPAC, and TFAF in support of Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust,” she said. “It’s time to get every House member on the record by holding a floor vote on the bill, prior to November, so voters know where their representatives stand.”

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