The bipartisan social security plan has met with criticism

Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks to reporters about the minimum wage in the U.S. Capitol on March 1, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Many Americans have one big question when it comes to their retirement: will Social Security still be there when I need it?

Now there is new evidence that Congress might take steps to consider ways to repair the program.

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney last week reintroduced a bill called the TRUST – Time to Rescue United States Trusts – Act, which aims to address the shortcomings that Social Security and other federal programs are facing inadequate trust funds.

These include the Social Security Old Age and Survivor Trust Fund and the Social Security Disability Trust Fund, which, according to legislation citing Government Accountability Office estimates, is expected to expire in 11 years or 2032.

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Others are likely to go out even earlier. The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is expected to exhaust its reserves in five years by 2026. The Highway Trust Fund now only has one year left.

Romney’s bill would create bipartisan rescue committees dedicated to each of the funds at risk. These groups would be tasked with drafting legislation to implement changes that would extend the long-term solvency of the programs.

The committees would have 180 days to submit their proposals. Any bills they report would be swiftly reviewed in both the House and Senate.

This latest version of the TRUST Act is endorsed by both parties.

Republican Senators who voted for the proposal include Todd Young from Indiana, Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia, Rob Portman from Ohio, John Cornyn from Texas, Mike Rounds from South Dakota, Kevin Cramer from North Dakota, and Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming .

Social security is supposed to be the foundation of retirement provision, but it is becoming one of the greatest sources of uncertainty.

Shai Akabas

Director of Economic Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center

Senate Democratic sponsors include Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Mark Warner of Virginia. Independent Senator Angus King of Maine also endorsed the bill.

Behind the bipartisan push, however, lies the concern of supporters of expanding social security that the bill could ultimately lead to lower performance.

“The Romney Plan is a way to cut benefits and leave very few fingerprints on members of Congress as is done,” said Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee for the Maintenance of Social Security and Medicare, one Advocacy.

The bill would also bypass normal legislative process, including hearings where outside witnesses could express their views, he said.

“Members of Congress should have the courage to have a discussion and debate on social security and listen to all views, and not push something through that will be very harmful to the beneficiaries,” Richtman said.

The last time Social Security was revised was in 1983, at which point the changes – including the gradual increase in the retirement age to 67 – were initiated by a commission headed by Alan Greenspan, who later served as chairman of the Federal Reserve .

According to the latest estimates by the Social Security Agency, the funds could be used up by 2035. From this point in time, 79% of the benefits are due. This assessment was published a year ago and does not take into account the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The longer changes are postponed to improve the solvency of the system, the more dramatic improvements need to be, said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, DC-based think tank.

Generally this includes either benefit cuts, tax increases, or a combination of both.

“I think the stalemate lasted far too long,” said Akabas. “It’s unfair to Americans trying to plan their future.”

“Social security is supposed to be the bedrock of retirement planning, but instead it is becoming one of the biggest sources of uncertainty,” he said.

Another proposal that could be reintroduced is Social Security Act 2100, under the direction of Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., Which aims to restore the program’s solvency through payroll tax increases over the next century while providing some benefits to increase.

Experts believe the bill will be reintroduced once it is in line with President Joe Biden’s pledge not to levy taxes on anyone earning less than $ 400,000 in wages.

Non-partisan support increases the chances

XiPhotos | E + | Getty Images

In the meantime, the TRUST bill could be tied to multiple legislative efforts this year, including upcoming infrastructure and funding efforts, Akabas said.

The CONFIDENTIAL LAW has been included in the budget resolution although it is not final as it is not signed by the President, he noted.

“Given the bipartisan support, there is certainly a possibility that this will be considered,” Akabas said.

Ultimately, it is up to those who oppose the proposal to work out an alternative plan that could similarly find bipartisan support, he said.

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