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Hey guys, sorry to release a new diary after just publishing one but this one is important.  Senator Mark Begich (D. AK) continues to fight to protect and strengthen Social Security:

Washington, D.C. - As deficit-reduction talks continue, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) on Thursday reintroduced his bill to strengthen Social Security while making it clear that budget cuts should not undermine the promise this country has made to our workers and seniors.  

Begich was also pleased that Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives. According to Begich, together, their bills would extend the solvency of Social Security for approximately 75 years by requiring higher-income Americans to pay Social Security on their earnings all year long and just adjusting the formula for cost-of-living increases to better reflect the needs of our seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Our seniors deserve to have the certainty of knowing that the benefits they worked hard to earn will be there when they need them. And this bill isn’t just about protecting our seniors it is also about common-sense long-term fiscal planning,” said Sen. Begich.

“The current debate over our federal deficit should not be used as an excuse to cut benefits or privatize Social Security, which operates off its own independent revenue stream and does not contribute to the federal deficit,” said Congressman Deutch. “Social Security is fundamentally sound, and with modest adjustments, the system can continue protecting all Americans from destitution resulting from old age, an unexpected disability, or the death of a breadwinner.” - Sit News, 2/15/13
Here's the act itself:
Here's what the plan calls for:
Increases Benefits for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. Currently, Social Security benefits are adjusted by the Consumer Price Index for workers. However, costs and spending patterns for seniors do not mirror those of the workforce. That is why Sen. Begich’s bill calls for adjusting cost-of-living increases with a Consumer Price Index specifically for the elderly which was created to more accurately measure the costs of goods and services seniors actually buy.

Lifts the Cap on High-Income Contributions. Current law sets a cap based on income at $113,700 for paying into Social Security. If an individual’s wages hit that total for the year, they no longer pay into the program. Sen. Begich’s bill lifts the cap and asks higher income earners to pay Social Security on all their earnings in order to increase the program’s revenue stream and extend the overall solvency of the program.

Extends Social Security for approximately 75 years through modest revenue increases gradually implemented over the course of seven years. - Alaska Native News, 11/14/12

It's great to hear that Begich's now has Congressman Ted Deutch (D. FL-21) as a colleague in the House who's also introducing similar legislation. Begich's plan has been endorsed by the Alaskan AARP and the Strengthen Social Security Coalition.  It's now gaining even more support:
The legislation’s introduction in the 113th Congress comes just weeks after a study by the nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance confirmed that the overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats not only oppose cutting Social Security, but support lifting the cap on contributions and improving benefits.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans strongly endorses the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act.  This vital bill not only protects and improves the benefits of seniors and the disabled, but also strengthens the long-term fiscal solvency of the program,” said Ed Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  “The proposal ensures long-term solvency by gradually lifting the cap on wages for high income earners.  At the same time, the plan enhances benefits by applying a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment guaranteeing that seniors’ benefits keep up with their daily needs.”

Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, said, “Sen. Begich's and Rep. Deutch’s legislation ensures that today’s youngest workers can count on getting Social Security’s vital but modest benefits when they retire.  It also ensures that all workers and their families will continue to be protected for the foreseeable future if they become disabled or die prematurely. They achieve all of this by simply requiring the wealthiest among us to contribute at the same rate as all other workers. Their constituents and the entire nation are fortunate to have such visionary and wise leaders.”  - Sit News, 2/15/13

With Social Security cuts in the form of a Chained CPI being talked between President Obama and House Republicans, it's important to get Democrats in the House and Senate behind this bill because as Senator Begich said before, Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit:

"Mr. President, a few weeks ago back home in Anchorage, I joined a group of seniors I presented this piece of legislation to them at the Anchorage Senior Center and she says she loves to describe herself as a "young woman from Alaska" stood up.  Beverly Moore, an 81-year old Korean War Navy veteran.  Beverly was there because the majority of her modest income comes from Social Security.  And she wanted to know how this proposal will strengthen that lifeline for her and thousands of Alaskans.  In fact, one in nine Alaskans receive Social Security.  With my states population of those 65 and older expanding rapidly, Social Security will continue to play a key role in supplementing a decent living.  If Social Security was not there for the elderly Alaskans, a fifth of them would live below poverty.  It's vital for our state, it's vital for all our states and for this whole country.  Mr. President I have no illusions that this bill is going to pass in the final weeks of this 112th congress but I wanted to get it into the mix.  I wanted to make sure people got the bigger point and again I would say to my residing officer and says this well and I know my friend here from Oregon who is on the floor also as we talk about the deficit that has taken center stage right now, we want to highlight one very clear thing: Social Security has not contributed, is not part of and never will contribute to the deficit.  So those who like to meddle in it and try to combine it into this deficit talk are just playing games with our seniors and disabled in this country." - U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D. AK), 12/7/12

Emphasis Mine.

Call Senator Begich and Congressman Deutch and thank them for not only standing up against Social Security cuts but also wanting to strengthening it:

Begich: (202) 224 - 3004

Deutch: 202-225-3001

You can get their bill numbers from their offices and then contact your Senator and Congressman and urge them to get behind their bold plans:



And how about donating to each of their re-election campaigns as an added thank you, especially Begich who is a top target for the GOP in 2014

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, North Carolina BLUE, DKos Pennsylvania, Virginia Kos, South Dakota Kos, Income Inequality Kos, Social Security Defenders, Occupy Wall Street, and Native American Netroots.

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