By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
Alabama Congresswoman Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) joined Connecticut colleague Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) to introduce legislation increasing Social Security benefits for seniors.
Sewell said the bill would increase benefits current and new beneficiaries by an average of two percent, increase the minimum benefit threshold to 25 percent above the poverty line and set new, higher taxable income thresholds to help lower income Americans.
An official cost estimate has not been released, but Larson said the spending would be paid for by increasing the Social Security payroll in two ways: eliminating the taxable income cap to subject all income above $132,000 to the payroll tax, and an across-the-board 1.2 percent increase. Both would be phased in over more than 20 years.
Sewell, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee and co-chairs the Expand Social Security Caucus said the New Democratic majority on Congress presents an opportunity to advance legislation expanding and protecting Social Security.
“Social Security should not only be protected, it should also be improved and expanded,” Sewell said. “I’m proud to partner with my Democratic colleagues to reverse that attack and strengthen these critically important social safety net programs.”
According to the Social Security Administration, more than 1.1 Alabamians are Social Security beneficiaries. Sewell’s office also shared information from the American Association of Retired Persons claiming Social Security made a $23 billion impact on the state.