About one in five senior citizens in the U.S. relies on Social Security as the sole source of income and proposed funding cuts could put them in danger.
Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) announced today his support of the Strengthening Social Security Act, which would increase benefits by about $70 a month.
The bill, introduced in September by California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, would increase Cost of Live Adjustments (COLA) and extend the Social Security trust fund by slowly eliminating the payroll tax cap.
Doyle said those making more than $1 million can afford to have their contribution levels uncapped for government programs like Medicare and Social Security.
“It’s just crazy to say that we’re going to fix Social Security by cutting the COLAs of the poorest seniors in our country,” he said, “when instead, we could simply uncap the benefit level of the richest people in our country.”
The bill came as a response to bargaining between Democrats and Republicans in Washington that would cut Medicare and Social Security funding and cause the Pittsburgh region to lose more than $4 million in benefits for seniors in 2015, according to State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny).
“If you worked for wages in the 50s and 60s and you’re in your 80s and 90s, you’re not living on that much of a monthly income,” he said. “You may not have a pension; you may not have a retirement account, so we should be talking about raising the standard of living for many folks in our society, especially our elderly.”
Ferlo said he agrees with Republicans that Social Security needs to be transformed, but it can’t take any cuts.
“We can talk about reforms, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t need to reduce the livability and the living standards for so many older Americans,” he said. “That’s not the direction we want to go.”
The bill is the House companion to legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in March.