Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch is looking to address Social Security’s solvency issues by boosting the amount contributed by wealthy Americans.
Deutch joined U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii in introducing the “Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act” on Wednesday. The legislation would remove the annual contributions cap for the fund, which sits at $132,900 in 2019.
Typically, Americans contribute 6.2 percent of their paycheck to Social Security. But that’s only for earnings up to $132,900. Deutch’s bill would remove that ceiling.
However, the proposal is likely to meet stiff opposition from Republicans.
“Social Security remains one of the most important programs for about 63 million Americans, including most American seniors who depend on it as their main source of income,” Deutch said.
“Rather than chip away at the program, we’re proposing a way to strengthen this pillar of retirement security and disability assistance by making sure all Americans, including those top income earners in our country, pay the same rate into Social Security.”
“For many seniors living in Hawaii on fixed incomes, Social Security benefits have not gone far enough to help them make ends meet and have not kept pace with the rising costs of consumer goods,” Hirono added. “Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement and a safety net for millions of families who rely on the program every day to survive.
“I am proud to join Congressman Deutch in reintroducing this legislation as we continue our fight to strengthen and improve Social Security and to ensure that seniors and others who rely on this critical program receive the benefits they deserve.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) says benefits are expected to be paid out in full until 2037. At that time, its reserves will run out.
The SSA estimates that “continuing taxes are expected to be enough to pay 76 percent of scheduled benefits. Thus, the Congress will need to make changes to the scheduled benefits and revenue sources for the program in the future.”
One potential change, as Deutch proposes, is increasing the flow of money into the fund.
But an alternative method, proposed by Republicans, is reducing the amount of Social Security benefits to be paid out. The GOP, which passed tax cuts at the end of 2017, will likely resist forcing rich Americans to pay more.
Still, Deutch argues the cap prevents those Americans with larger incomes from putting in their “fair share.”
“By scrapping the cap we can ensure all Americans contribute their fair share to retirement security and disability benefits for one another,” Deutch said.