from The Hill – by Peter Kasperowicz – Dozens of House Democrats on Monday introduced a resolution that rejected President Obama’s proposal for calculating growth in Social Security benefits.
The resolution, H.Con.Res. 34, was sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and co-sponsored by 81 other Democrats. It says it is the sense of Congress that “the Chained Consumer Price Index should not be used to calculate cost of living adjustments for Social Security benefits.”
Obama used his 2014 budget plan to call for imposing a so-called chained CPI formula. That formula would reduce Social Security cost of living adjustments by taking into account alternative purchases people can make in order to avoid goods and services whose costs are rising quickly.
Since Obama’s budget was released, Democrats have criticized it as a way to shrink Social Security payments to seniors and have repeatedly rejected it in speeches on the House floor.
“We should not expect Rhode Island seniors to sacrifice their earned Social Security benefits to fix fiscal problems that they had no hand in creating,” Cicilline reiterated in a statement accompanying his resolution. “I am proud that so many of my colleagues are standing together in this effort with me, as original co-sponsors, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to protect our seniors by fiercely defending Social Security and Medicare benefits in the federal budget.”
The resolution finds that Social Security payments average about $14,000 per year, and that more than 53 million people receive them. It also adds that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that chained CPI would cut Social Security benefits by 0.25 percent, and would reduce outlays by $112 billion over the first decade.
While Obama proposed his plan as a way to help reduce the budget deficit, the resolution argues that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. Cicilline said the government should not be looking at Social Security as a source of funds to cut the deficit.
“Social Security isn’t an ‘entitlement program’ — it’s a promise our country has made that, after a lifetime of hard work, American seniors can enjoy their retirement years with peace of mind and economic security,” he said. “I will keep fighting to maintain these earned benefits for seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.”