Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined Sanders in sponsoring the amendment, which passed by voice vote Friday night, putting the Senate on record against changing how cost-of-living increases are calculated in a way that would result in significant cuts. Sanders reacted to the vote:
“This is a strong signal that when push comes to shove the Senate is going to oppose any effort to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, disabled veterans and their survivors,” Sanders said after the vote.The amendment, like the entire bill, isn't binding. But it is a statement from the whole Senate, and particularly the core group of liberal sponsors, that the president's offer of using Social Security and veterans benefits cuts to cut a grand bargain deal is not acceptable to them. According to Sanders, a typical 65-year-old retiree would lose more than $650 a year by their 75th birthday and more than $1,000 a year by their 85th under the chained CPI. It would also cut the benefits of more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children.