Senator Bernie Sanders: One of the issues that I'm working hard on is budgetary matters. Chairman Miller raised appropriately enough, our concern to see that the VA remains adequately funded now and into the future. There's an immediate concern that I want to mention to you and that is the so-called Chained CPI. Some of you may be aware of it, some of you may not. It is a theory being postulated, adopted by a number of people here in Congress that says that the benefits that disabled veterans are getting have been too generous historically. And that includes people on Social Security as well. The result, if that so-called Chained CPI were to go into effect would mean that veterans who started receiving VA disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1425 at age 45, $2300 at age 55, and $3200 at age 65. That's the reality. It doesn't get a lot of discussion. It's kind of an inside the beltway process. I hope that you will join me and many others saying that we do not balance the budget on the backs of disabled veterans.
That is only one example of Sanders publicly calling out any effort to attack Social Security. Today his office issued the following:
Obama to Drop Social Security Cuts from Budget
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sen. Bernie Sanders welcomed White House assurances on Thursday that President Barack Obama will not call for cuts in Social Security benefits as part of a budget blueprint that he will submit to Congress on March 4. “I applaud President Obama for his important decision to protect Social Security,” Sanders said.
“With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we cannot afford to make life even more difficult for seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in America. I look forward to working with the president to support the needs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.”
Sanders is a member of the Senate Budget Committee and founder of the Senate’s Defending Social Security Caucus.
On Feb. 14, Sanders and 15 other senators sent a letter to the White House urging Obama to spare Social Security in the budget that he is preparing for the coming fiscal year. The letter emphasized that Social Security has not contributed to the deficit. In fact, the retirement system’s $2.7 trillion surplus can pay all benefits owed to every eligible American for the next 19 years.
One year ago, a cut in Social Security benefits was part of the budget blueprint that Obama sent to Congress. He proposed changing how the consumer price index is calculated to lower future cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. The change also would have affected benefits for disabled veterans, noted Sanders, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Budget writers on Capitol Hill rejected the proposal.
To read the letter, click here.