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Sens. Murray, Cantwell propose to boost Social Security

social-security-murray-cantwell-frontWASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 6, 2015) — On Thursday, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and 14 of their colleagues introduced legislation to boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans and other Americans. The legislation follows last month’s announcement that there will be a zero cost-of-living adjustment in 2016, affecting an estimated 1.2 million. (See the table at this link for a county-by-county breakdown.)

The Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act) would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581.

A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year’s worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole that allows the biggest corporations to get a tax break when they give their CEOs and other executives enormous bonuses. The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.

“After a lifetime of hard work, all seniors deserve the opportunity to live healthy, full, and financially secure lives, and many rely on small annual increases to their Social Security benefits just to get by. Now is no time for them to go without this adjustment, especially with so many still struggling.” Murray said. “Instead of allowing the biggest corporations to benefit from wasteful and egregious tax loopholes, we should be prioritizing ways to help seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities have a fighting chance to make ends meet.”

The SAVE Benefits Act is supported by AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Retired Americans, The ARC of the United States, B’nai B’rith International, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for American Progress, Center for Community Change, CREDO, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Economic Opportunity Institute, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, Justice in Aging,, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Council of La Raza, National Organization for Women, OWL—the Voice of Women 40+, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Social Security Works, UltraViolet, and VoteVets.

Other senators introducing the bill include United States Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)

A PDF fact sheet about the bill is available here, and text of bill is available here.

ALSO at The Stand — “Seniors Before CEOs” would boost Social Security COLAs (by John Burbank)

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