Senate Committee Examines America’s “Retirement Crisis” - U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, in a hearing yesterday morning, conducted an in-depth examination of retirement issues facing Americans today, receiving input from a slate of representatives from private and public organizations. In advance of the hearing, Committee Chair Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued a comprehensive report on what has been described as a “retirement crisis facing working class Americans across our country.” The report can be reviewed in its entirety here, and the recording of the actual hearing can be viewed here.

In the published report, Sen. Sanders presented highlights of the Social Security Expansion Act (S. 393, introduced Feb. 23, 2023) now in Congress, noting these specific provisions included in the bill:

  • Subject all income above $250,000 to the Social Security payroll tax
  • Adopting the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) as the basis for annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustments
  • Extend the 12.4 payroll tax to include investment and business income
  • Increasing the Special Minimum Benefit and indexing the benefit level so that it is equal to 125 percent of the poverty line

Sen. Sanders’ report also discussed the importance of two areas being discussed in the Senate:

  • Universal coverage, wherein “businesses that have been operating for two years or more would be required to offer an automatic enrollment payroll deduction plan with lifetime income options to all employees (to include full, part-time, and 1099 workers)”
  • Federally-facilitated pension plans, a pension plan via public-private partnership for use by employers that they can choose to offer and do not have to run.

Sen. Sanders noted that his proposed legislation is intended to “extend the solvency of Social Security for 75 years,” while increasing benefits by $2,400 a year, with 93 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 a year not seeing their taxes go up at all.

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