Latest Social Security Reform Bill Set for December 7 Hearing

Carrying the moniker “The Fierce Urgency of Now — Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust,” the bill–H.R. 5723– introduced in late October by Rep. John (D-Conn.) is set for a House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing on December 7, 2021, starting at 1:00 pm.

As most who follow the plight of America’s Social Security program know, Congressional inattention to its long-term health has pushed the program into a deficit mode, with insolvency only about a decade away. Something must be done, and soon, in order to avoid the doomsday scenario of dramatically reduced benefits when the program’s accumulated reserves are depleted. Rep. Larson’s bill is a major step in addressing the need for an overhaul of the program, although it is likely that there will be considerable discussion in hearings and markup as the bill moves in Congress. There will be opposing views on many of the bill’s components, a summary of which can be downloaded from Rep. Larson’s website.

Key features of the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust include, among other details:

  • A 2 percent across-the-board benefit increase
  • Adoption of a consumer price index for the elderly (CPI-E) for determining COLA
  • Increased “special minimum benefit” for long-term low earners
  • Increased thresholds for federal income taxation of benefits
  • Improved widow/widower benefits

In addressing the cost of these measures, Rep. Larson’s fact sheet calls for the bill to apply “the Social Security payroll tax to earnings above $400,000,” and notes that the bill presents a series of administrative and managerial changes, including combining the OASI and DI trust funds “into one unified Social Security Trust Fund,” changes to the mailing of Social Security statements and preventing the closure of various types of field offices, and “Increases access to attorney and other professional representation for individuals needing legal assistance to appeal a denial of disability benefits.”

As we’ve stated before, AMAC and its affiliates, AMAC Action and AMAC Foundation, will be watching this bill as it winds its way through the legislative process. The AMAC position has long been that Social Security is in urgent need of changes that would modernize it and preserve it for generations to come, and will be examining this proposal (and others to follow) in light of the interests of its constituency. For a review of AMAC’s suggested framework for the future of Social Security, check out the AMAC Social Security Guarantee.

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