“Social Security’s modest benefits should be expanded. When President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, he called it ‘a cornerstone’ on which to build. Yet the last time Congress enacted increases was 1972.”
Progressive advocates and experts made the case for expanding Social Security during a historic House committee hearing on Thursday, providing a stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s call for billions of dollars in cuts to the popular New Deal-era program in his 2020 budget proposal.
The Ways and Means hearing on Rep. John Larson’s (D-Conn.) Social Security 2100 Act—which would boost benefits by hiking taxes on the rich and ensure the program’s solvency through the end of the century—represents the first time a congressional committee has considered legislation to expand Social Security in nearly 50 years.
Nancy Altman, president of advocacy group Social Security Works, called the event a “critical milestone in the fight to increase, not cut, Social Security’s modest benefits.”
During her testimony in support of the Social Security 2100 Act on Thursday, Altman said the legislation would help solve America retirement income crisis.
To bolster her argument that expanding Social Security is both good policy and good politics, Altman pointed to survey data showing that expanding Social Security is popular across party lines.
“Social Security is intended to provide, as its name suggests, a sense of security, peace of mind,” Altman said. “But that invaluable benefit has been lost because too many Americans have been convinced that Social Security won’t be there for them. Passage of the Social Security 2100 Act is an important step to restoring that peace of mind.”
Americans overwhelmingly agree: It’s time to #ExpandSocialSecurity.
— SocialSecurityWorks (@SSWorks) July 25, 2019
Abigail Zapote, executive director of advocacy group Latinos for a Secure Retirement, also testified (pdf) in support of Larson’s bill on Thursday, calling it an important step toward a secure retirement for seniors and future generations.
“Social Security is a vital safety net that protects American families,” said Zapote. “Children are protected in the event they are orphaned, or their parents become disabled. Workers are protected if they can no longer work because of disability and parents and grandparents are protected when they become too old to continue working. Social Security is a sacred trust between generations and represents our Latino family values.”
— Ways & Means Committee (@WaysMeansCmte) July 25, 2019
Contrary to continued right-wing fearmongering about the looming collapse of Social Security, recent analyses have found the program is in good financial shape. But, as Altman wrote for Forbes Thursday, the program’s benefits “are modest by virtually any measure” and should, in fact, be increased.
“Social Security’s modest benefits should be expanded, not cut,” Altman wrote. “When President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, he called it ‘a cornerstone’ on which to build. Yet the last time Congress enacted increases was 1972.”
“Social Security has stood the test of time,” added Altman. “Next month, we will celebrate the 84th anniversary of the system’s enactment. It is more universal, efficient, secure, and fair than its private sector counterparts are or could be.”
Larson’s legislation—which was introduced in January, on FDR’s 137th birthday—would increase Social Security benefits for all current and future recipients, set the minimum benefit level to 25 percent greater than the federal poverty line, and improve the annual cost of living adjustment to ensure benefits are not eroded by inflation.
To finance the benefit expansion, Larson’s bill would subject all earnings above $400,000 to a payroll tax.
“No one should retire into poverty,” advocacy group MoveOn tweeted Thursday. “Rep. John Larson’s Secure 2100 Act increases the minimum monthly Social Security benefit, ensuring seniors can retire in dignity.”
Watch the full Ways and Means Committee hearing:
A censure compromise is the GOP’s best option – but Trump is making it impossible: conservative columnist
In an op-ed for the conservative outlet The Bulwark, Benjamin Parker argues that when it comes to censure as a "compromise" to impeachment, that potential compromise is a model that President Trump himself has taken off the table.
Just like during the Bill Clinton era, party members leading the impeachment effort know that they won't get the Senate votes to convict. "The censure compromise was an effort by the president’s defenders to end the impeachment process early. It failed in 1998 because Republicans were determined to demonstrate their fidelity to the rule of law and to enforce a high standard of conduct for public officials," Parker writes, adding that Democrats today find themselves in a similar position. "At this point, Trump’s defenders should be suggesting a censure measure as a possible compromise just as Democrats did in 1998. ... Even if a compromise on censure appears unreachable, the Republicans should make the offer on the off chance that it works."
Fresno Bee burns Nunes to the ground in scathing editorial
The editorial board of the Fresno Bee has written a scathing takedown of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for his extraordinary fealty to President Donald Trump, which the editors say is harming the country.
Specifically, the editorial accuses Nunes of forsaking his oath of office as a congressman to serve as Trump's most loyal toady on the House Intelligence Committee.
"As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team," the editorial states.
‘Don’t mess with me’: Pelosi’s presser ends with a bang as she blasts reporter for asking if she ‘hates’ Trump
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly rebuked a reporter who asked whether she hated President Donald Trump.
The California Democrat announced Thursday morning that she had asked Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler to draft articles of impeachment, and she then announced that the committee would hear evidence in the case in a hearing Monday.
"Ukraine was the vehicle of the president's actions (but) this isn't about Ukraine," Pelosi said. "This is about Russians. Who benefited? Who benefited from that holding that military assistance?"
"All roads lead to Putin," she added. "Understand that."