MEDIA ADVISORY: Chairman Sanders to Hold Budget Committee Hearing on Saving and Expanding Social Security

WASHINGTON, June 3 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, announced today that the committee will hold a hearing Thursday, June 9, at 11:00 a.m. titled “Saving Social Security: Expanding Benefits and Demanding the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share or Cutting Benefits and Increasing Retirement Anxiety.”

Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Social Security today remains one of the most popular and successful government programs in the history of the United States. Before it was enacted in 1935, more than half of the nation’s seniors lived in poverty, as well as countless Americans living with disabilities and surviving dependents of deceased workers.

More than 80 years later, the nation’s senior poverty rate is just 8.9 percent with Social Security providing an essential lifeline to the 1 in 7 seniors who rely on the program for more than 90 percent of their income – as well as the estimated 50 percent of Americans, 55-years-old and older, living without retirement savings. In 2020 alone, during the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, Social Security lifted 22 million Americans out of poverty, including more than 16 million seniors.

“At a time when half of Americans over the age of 55 have no retirement savings, our job is not to cut Social Security. Our job is to save and expand Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes,” said Sanders. “In the richest country in the history of the world, no senior should live in poverty and every American should be able to retire in dignity after a lifetime of hard work. This is not a radical idea.”

Despite Republican claims to the contrary, Social Security is not going broke. According to an annual report released today by the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, Social Security has a $2.85 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible recipient until the year 2035. After that, Social Security can pay out 80 percent of benefits owed to every eligible American and, if we demand that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes, we can both extend the solvency of Social Security and expand benefits.

Testifying at the hearing will be Nancy Altman, Robert Roach, Alex Lawson, Maya MacGuineas, and Stephen Goss. Additional witnesses to be determined.

Hearing Details
What: Hearing of the Committee on the Budget to consider “Saving Social Security: Expanding Benefits and Demanding the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share or Cutting Benefits and Increasing Retirement Anxiety”
Thursday, June 9, 2022, 11:00 a.m. ET
Room SH-216. The hearing will also be livestreamed on the Budget Committee’s website and Sanders’ social media pages.

Panel 1:
Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works and Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition; author of Social Security Works for Everyone: Protecting and Expanding the Insurance Americans Love and Count On
Robert Roach, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans; former General Secretary?Treasurer of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works
Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Panel 2:
Stephen Goss, Chief Actuary at the Social Security Administration