The Social Security Commission Act of 2014
In late May, Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and John Delaney (D-MD) introduced the Social Security Commission Act of 2014, reflecting a bipartisan effort to extend the solvency of the Social Security program and make it more sustainable over the long term. On Monday, July 28, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas joined Jim Kessler of Third Way, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute, and Robert D. Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in signing a letter in support of the bill.
According to the recent Social Security Trustees Report, the growing gap between spending and revenue will lead to trust fund exhaustion in the next 20 years. At that point, all beneficiaries will see a 23 percent cut in benefits if Congress does not act. The letter touched on this looming insolvency:
There is widespread recognition across the political spectrum that Social Security, on its current path, will be unable to pay full benefits to disabled beneficiaries in 2016 and to retired and survivors of American workers in 2034 (2033 under a combined Trust Funds scenario). For many American families, these would be catastrophic events.
The Social Security Commission Act of 2014 would create a Commission on Social Security to address its solvency and submit recommendations for reform to Congress for an up-or-down vote. Though some believe the commission approach to be dated, the authors of the letter expressed their approval:
We understand that some may be wary of another commission. But Social Security's last major fix, in 1983, was made possible by a commission, chaired by Alan Greenspan. Your legislation offers a transparent, inclusive, and politically viable path to a balanced solvency plan and a filibuster-proof up-or-down-vote. Further, enacting a commission to fix Social Security would demonstrate that Congress is serious about protecting the middle class and making progress on our country's most pressing issues.
They further praised the Representatives for introducing the legislation saying, "you have taken a critical first step forward showing that both parties can work together towards fixing America's most important social insurance program."
Representatives Cole and Delaney also made an appearance at CRFB's recent event, "Decoding the Social Security Trustees' Report," where a panel of experts commented on the program's finances and discussed reform options.
You can view the full letter in support here, and a copy of the bill text here.
The full Social Security Trustees' Report, which details the long-term status of the program, can be found here. We also published a paper analyzing the report and highlighting its key findings.