LOS ANGELES, April 5 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today issued the following statement on President Obama’s proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and others:
“I am terribly disappointed and will do everything in my power to block President Obama’s proposal to cut benefits for Social Security recipients through a chained consumer price index. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I also am especially concerned about the impact this change would have on disabled veterans and their survivors.
“The Senate just last month went on record in opposition to the president’s approach. In poll after poll, the American people are overwhelmingly against cutting Social Security. And organizations representing a broad spectrum of millions of Americans from the AFL-CIO to the American Legion to AARP to NOW have urged the president not to make this terrible mistake.
“This is not a minor tweak, as its proponents contend. Under Obama’s proposal, according to the Social Security Administration, 65-year-old retirees would lose more than $650 a year by their 75th birthday, and more than $1,000 a year would be cut from their benefits once they reach 85. The proposed change would also affect more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans who started receiving V.A. disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 a year at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. Benefits for more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children would also be cut.
“I remember when Obama said he was concerned about retirees struggling to get by and was unequivocal in his opposition to cutting cost-of-living adjustments. On September 6, 2008, then Sen. Obama spoke to the AARP 50th anniversary convention. ‘John McCain’s campaign has gone even further suggesting that the best answer for the growing pressure on Social Security might be to cut cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear. I will not do either.’
“I also hope the president follows up on another suggestion that he made during that campaign and gets behind my legislation to raise the cap on income subject to the payroll tax, extending the life of Social Security for generations to come without the need to cut benefits or raise taxes on the middle class.
“Yes, we must move forward on deficit reduction, but it must not be done on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country.”