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Bernie Sanders Leads Dems in Pressing Obama to Expand Social Security

Bernie Sanders Leads Dems in Pressing Obama to Expand Social Security
(REUTERS/Dave Kaup)

By    |   Monday, 13 July 2015 01:43 PM

Dozens of Democrats, joined by Vermont independent senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have made an appeal to President Barack Obama to expand Social Security benefits for millions of seniors across the country, according to The Hill.

The lawmakers laid out their case in a letter to be delivered to the White House on Monday. They say that evolving trends related to employer retirement packages have had a detrimental effect on the nation's retirees.

"As employers continue moving from a defined benefit model to a defined contribution model of retirement savings, it is critical that we fight to protect and expand Social Security—the only guaranteed source of income in retirement," the lawmakers said in their letter, according to The Hill.

Their push coincides with the White House Conference on Aging on Monday during which administration officials convene to consider public policy for seniors, according to The Hill.

The lawmakers said they want Social Security expansion to be "the No. 1 retirement security recommendation" to come out of the White House, and cited polls suggesting that such an expansion is both necessary and popular.

"More than half (53 percent) of today's working Americans are not expected to have sufficient resources upon retirement to maintain their standard of living," they wrote, according to The Hill.

"This support crosses party lines: 90 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents, and 73 percent of Republicans favor expanding Social Security," they wrote.

Sanders, the ranking member of the Budget Committee, initiated the letter along with Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. Other signatories include Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and 68 House Democratic lawmakers, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, a range of liberal groups plan to deliver a petition with 2 million signatures to the White House conference on Monday echoing the lawmakers' position on Social Security expansion. Among the groups involved are the AFL-CIO, the Campaign for America's Future, the National Organization for Women, and Social Security Works.

In the past, the president has been at odds with liberal allies on Capitol Hill on the issue. In 2013, he released a budget package that would calculate future cost-of-living increases in Social Security based on the chained Consumer Price Index, which would have the effect of reducing benefits over time. 

According to The Hill, the move was largely political: an attempt to entice Republicans who have long advocated for reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the context of spending cuts, but the move failed to bring the GOP to the negotiating table.
Liberals, meanwhile, were infuriated by Obama's proposal. 

"What he did after the election is what he said to the millions of people who were so excited about his campaign, he says, 'Hey, thank you very much for electing me; I will take it from here. I'll sit down with John Boehner. I will sit down with Mitch McConnell. I'll sit down with Republicans and I'm going to negotiate some fair compromises,'" Sanders said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday. 

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Dozens of Democrats, joined by Vermont independent senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have made an appeal to President Barack Obama to expand Social Security benefits for millions of seniors across the country, according to The Hill.
bernie sanders, social security, letter, obama, democrats
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2015-43-13
Monday, 13 July 2015 01:43 PM
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