Senator Bernie Sanders today welcomed President Barack Obama’s support for a one-time, $250 payment next year to more than 50 million seniors to keep Social Security benefits from shrinking. “Even as we seek to bring about recovery, we must act on behalf of those hardest hit by this recession,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House. Sanders and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon on September 17 introduced legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to prevent the first cut in benefits in 35 years. Said Sanders, “I very much appreciate the president understanding that in the midst of this terrible recession we cannot turn our backs on senior citizens and disabled veterans.” The Social Security Administration is expected to announce on Thursday that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment next year. Unless Congress acts, benefits would decline because Medicare prescription drug premiums, which are deducted from Social Security, will go up.
“Millions of seniors are seeing higher prescription drug and health care costs while, at the same time, the value of their homes, pensions and life savings have declined. I applaud the president for standing up for some of the most vulnerable people in our country,” Sanders said.
Cosponsors of his Senate bill include Sen. Patrick Leahy, Christopher Dodd, Debbie Stabenow, Mark Begich, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.).
Nearly 70 percent of beneficiaries depend on Social Security for at least half of their income, and Social Security is the sole source of income for 15 percent of recipients.
To read more about the Sanders-DeFazio legislation, click here.
To watch the senator's floor speech after the announcement, click here.