Fighting back against a zero COLA increase come 2016 in Social Security benefits, top Democratic senators including Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced legislation Thursday to boost Social Security and other benefits for seniors and the disabled.
The bill, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act, would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, the disabled and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9% of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 – the same percentage raise as the top CEOs, the senators stated in a joint statement.
“If we do nothing, on January 1st, more than 70 million seniors, veterans, and other Americans won’t get an extra dime in much-needed Social Security and other benefits,” Warren said. “And while Congress sits on its hands and pretends that there’s nothing we can do, taxpayers will keep right on subsidizing billions of dollars’ worth of bonuses for highly paid CEOs.”
Added Warren: “Giving seniors a little help with their Social Security and stitching up corporate tax write-offs isn’t just about economics; it’s about our values.”
The senators stated that the bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty, with the cost of the emergency payment covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for “performance pay.”
The “substantial additional revenue saved” by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and disability trust funds, the senators state.
“It is unacceptable that millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans did not receive a cost-of-living adjustment this year to keep up with their rising living expenses,” Sanders stated. “At a time when senior poverty is going up and more than two-thirds of the elderly population rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, our job must be to expand, not cut, Social Security.”
At the very least, he added, “we must do everything we can to make sure that every senior citizen and disabled veteran in this country receives a fair cost-of-living adjustment to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and health care.”