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Social Security Expansion Act Resurfaces


Legislation that purports to expand Social Security benefits, shore up program funding, and increase taxes on the “wealthy” has been reintroduced in Congress.

The Social Security Expansion Act was originally introduced last June in the Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), along with more than 15 cosponsors, introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

This time it’s once again Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, along with Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Val Hoyle (D-OR) in the House of Representatives, who have introduced legislation that they say will expand Social Security benefits by $2,400 a year ($200/month) and ensure Social Security is fully funded for the next 75 years — “all without raising taxes by one penny on over 93 percent of American households that make $250,000 or less.”

Of course, you can guess what it means for those making $250,000 or more — the bill calls for subjecting all income above $250,000 to the Social Security payroll tax. Additionally, this bill would “require the wealthy pay the same 12.4 percent on their investment and business income, by increasing the net investment income tax by 12.4 percent and applying it to certain business income not already covered by payroll taxes.” 

And the bill is not just planning to increase benefits for older Americans. According to a press release, and consistent with the bill introduced last year, it would also “…help low-income workers stay out of poverty by improving the Special Minimum Benefit, restore student benefits up to age 22 for children of disabled or deceased workers, strengthen benefits for senior citizens and people with disabilities, increase Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLAs), and expand program benefits across-the-board.” 

List of Cosponsors Also Expand

This time the bill’s list of co-sponsors is considerably longer than a year ago. Now joining Sanders, Warren, Schakowsky, and Hoyle on the Social Security Expansion Act are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Chris Van Hollen, Alex Padilla, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Tina Smith (D-MN) and Ed Markey (D-MA). 
And there are 25 cosponsors in the House including Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Troy Carter (D-LA), Greg Casar (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jesús Chuy García (D-IL), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

You can:

  • Read the bill text, here.  
  • Read the fact sheet and full list of supporting organizations, here.  
  • Read the Social Security Administration’s analysis of the legislation, here