WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to prevent the trimming of Social Security and disabled veterans’ benefits, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today joined a number of his colleagues in introducing a resolution that would put the Senate on record in opposition to applying the chained consumer price index (CPI) to Social Security and veterans’ benefits, as well as parts of the tax code that affect low and middle-income families.

“Social Security is not a driver of the federal deficit and it shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip.  It is important that we honor our promise to those who have worked hard and paid into the system to provide themselves, family members, and fellow Americans with a safety net.  I remain adamantly opposed to proposals that would weaken Social Security and make it harder for Rhode Island seniors and veterans to pay their bills.  We can find fair, bipartisan ways to reduce the deficit.  Congress should close tax loopholes on corporations that ship jobs overseas for example.  But Social Security is a separate issue that is too crucial to seniors and the middle-class,” said Reed.  

Among the highlights of the Concurrent Resolution:

•             The Social Security program has no borrowing authority, has accumulated assets of $2,700,000,000,000, and, therefore, does not contribute to the Federal budget deficit;

•             The Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund projects that the Trust Fund can pay full benefits through 2032;

•             The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that using the Chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs would reduce Social Security benefits by 0.25 percent per year, resulting in a reduction in outlays of $127,000,000,000 over the first decade;

•             Reductions in Social Security benefits from using the Chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs would continue to compound over time, and the AARP Public Policy Institute estimates that the reductions would grow to 3 percent after 10 years and 8.5 percent after 30 years;

•             Social Security Works estimates that using the Chained CPI to calculate Social Security COLAs would reduce annual Social Security benefits of the average earner by $658 at age 75, $1,147 at age 85, and $1,622 at age 95;

•             The Department of Veterans Affairs provides more than 3,200,000 veterans with disability compensation benefits as a result of injuries or illnesses sustained during, or as a result of, military service;

•             Adopting the Chained CPI would also cut the benefits of more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children who have lost a loved one in battle by cutting Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits that average less than $17,000 per year.

•            Adopting the Chained CPI would cause tax brackets and the standard deduction to rise more slowly disproportionally raising the tax burden  on low and middle-income taxpayers;

Other cosponsors of the resolution include: Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN),  Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D - OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

National groups lending their support to this effort include: the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the Alliance for Retired Americans, American Association of University Women, AARP, CREDO, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, MoveOn.org Civic Action, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Social Security Works, the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, United Steelworkers, VetsFirst, and Wider Opportunities for Women.