Health and Fitness

Representatives Schakowsky, Matsui and Murphy Introduce Resolution to Protect and Expand Social Security

Washington, DC –(ENEWSPF)—July 30, 2015. Today Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Doris O. Matsui, Patrick Murphy and 57 of their colleagues introduced H.Res. 393, a resolution expressing Congressional support for efforts to protect and expand Social Security while securing its long-term future.  The resolution is included below.  Representatives Schakowsky and Matsui are co-chairs and Representative Murphy is a member of the House Democratic Seniors Task Force.

Social Security, which celebrates its 80th anniversary on August 14, provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to more than 59 million Americans.  With one monthly contribution, working men and women purchase financial security and have the peace of mind of knowing that their earned benefits will be there when they need them.

For 80 years, Social Security has provided guaranteed, inflation-adjusted benefits, without ever missing a payment.  Social Security keeps nearly 15 million seniors, 1 million children and 6 million non-elderly adults out of poverty.  Social Security provides the majority of income for two out of three retirees and 7 out of 10 households receiving disability benefits. 

The resolution recognizes that Social Security earned benefits, although essential, are extremely modest.  The average monthly earned benefit for a retired worker in 2015 is $1,305 and for a disabled worker $1,146.  It calls on Congress to protect and expand Social Security benefits while taking steps to ensure its long-term financial future.

Rep. Schakowsky:  “Our nation faces a retirement crisis.  The average working American has only $2,500 in retirement savings – those nearing retirement have only $14,500.  Social Security was supposed to be one leg of a three-legged stool – along with pensions and retirement savings.  With an erosion of defined benefit pensions and inadequate retirement savings, Social Security today is more important than ever.  We can and must build on Social Security’s very sturdy foundation to expand benefits so that older Americans, disabled workers and their families can live in dignity and meet their basic needs.” 

Rep. Matsui: “Americans who work hard and play by the rules deserve a dignified and secure retirement, which Social Security makes possible.  It’s our job as lawmakers to preserve and strengthen it. I am also acutely aware of Social Security’s impact on women and families.  Women on average live longer than men, earn less throughout their working life, and spend more time out of the workforce caring for children and parents.  Social Security is key to ensuring that older women do not have to live in poverty.”

Rep. Murphy: “Social Security is a sacred trust, a compact between seniors and their government, that says that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can live your golden years free from poverty.  Even as this bedrock program faces attacks from the Tea Party, Social Security remains a lifeline for our nation’s middle class and lifts 20 million senior citizens and disabled Americans out of poverty.  I am proud to join the leadership of the Seniors Task Force to defend Social Security and make it stronger.”

Text of the Resolution to Protect and Expand Social Security While Securing Its Long-term Future

WHEREAS the nation is facing a retirement income crisis with millions of hard-working Americans fearing they can never retire with dignity and economic independence after a lifetime of work;

WHEREAS expanding Social Security which provides guaranteed, lifetime and inflation-adjusted benefits, and is our country’s most universal, fair, efficient, and secure source of retirement income, is an essential solution to that retirement income crisis;

WHEREAS, Social Security is the heart of economic security for American workers, allowing them to earn comprehensive birth-to-death protection against the loss of wages due to death, retirement or disability, in one simple package;

WHEREAS, for most families, Social Security is the only family protection against the loss of income due to the disability or death of a worker and is the single largest source of retirement income;

WHEREAS Social Security’s earned benefits are modest, averaging around $14,600 a year for all beneficiaries and replacing only 40 percent of an average worker’s wages – a percentage that is falling and which is lower than the comparable benefits provided by most other industrialized nations;

WHEREAS two out of three beneficiaries receiving Social Security in retirement and seven out of ten households receiving Social Security as a result of disability rely on those earned benefits for half or more of their income; and one out of three senior households rely on it for virtually all of their income;

WHEREAS more than 1 in 10 of America’s children receive Social Security benefits in their own right or through a household member and Social Security lifts one million children out of poverty;

WHEREAS Social Security provides benefits to more than 9 million veterans, about 4 in 10 of all veterans;

WHEREAS Social Security is vitally important to women, who, on average, live longer than men, suffer a significant and persistent wage gap throughout their working years, and are less likely to have employer-sponsored pensions or other retirement benefits, and Social Security prevents two-thirds of all older women who live  alone from falling into poverty;

WHEREAS Social Security is vitally important to African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color who disproportionately experience disability and premature death and, on average, have lower wages, are less likely to have employer-sponsored pensions or retirement benefits, and disproportionately work in physically demanding jobs; without Social Security, poverty rates among African American and Latino seniors would nearly triple;  

WHEREAS Social Security’s benefits total more than $72 billion each month and its 59 million beneficiaries  tend to spend those benefits immediately and locally, thereby supporting the economies of rural, suburban and urban areas alike;

WHEREAS Social Security protects all generations and strengthens families, providing earned benefits—life insurance, disability insurance and retirement income — to one in four households;

WHEREAS Social Security is an earned benefit, one Americans work hard all their lives to secure for themselves and their families;

WHEREAS Social Security has always been a secure and reliable source of basic economic security, never a day late or a dollar short;

WHEREAS although many Americans have seen their wages stagnate or decline in recent years, the United States is the wealthiest nation in the world at the wealthiest moment in its history  and can easily afford to expand Social Security benefits if the wealthiest among us are required to pay their fair share;

WHEREAS expanding Social Security’s protections and providing Americans with greater economic security while securing Social Security’s long-term future is completely achievable and can be done fairly and equitably;

WHEREAS the majority of Americans of all ages and in all parts of the country believe Social Security is more important than ever and support increasing its modest benefits;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives supports policies to protect and expand Social Security and secure its long-term future in a fair and responsible manner.