10.14.09

Senators Welcome President Obama’s Support For Social Security Boost

WASHINGTON, October 14 – Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) 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. “I want to compliment all the members of Congress who have been working to address these challenges, especially Senators Reid, Baucus, Sanders, and Lincoln, Speaker Pelosi, and Representatives Rangel, McCarthy, and DeFazio.”
 
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. 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.”
 
The Social Security Administration is expected to announce tomorrow 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.
 
Sanders and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) on September 17 introduced legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to prevent the first cut in benefits in 35 years.
 
Leahy, who cosponsored the Senate bill, said “the president understands that seniors, while coping with rising health costs and a churning economy, are struggling to afford the basics. While a onetime payment of $250 will not solve the long-term problem of how Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are measured, it will mean immediate relief for Vermonters who rely on Social Security today.  Social Security has served well as a safety net for more than 70 years.  Senator Sanders has led in finding a solution, and he and I are committed to keeping Social Security strong for today and for future generations.”
 
Other cosponsors of the Senate bill are Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), 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.

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