Social Security may be a ‘front-burner issue’ in November’s election

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As November’s midterm elections approach, leaders on both sides of the aisle are trading barbs for a key program affecting millions of Americans: Social Security.

Over the weekend, President Joe Biden called on certain lawmakers on Twitter, including Republican Senators Rick Scott of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, for their plans for the program.

Scott ‘wants to require Congress to vote on the future of Social Security every 5 years’, Biden tweeted. Meanwhile, Johnson “wants to keep Social Security and health care on the chopping block every year,” the president said in a… separate tweet.

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“If Congress isn’t forced to fix it, Social Security will go bankrupt in 2035. You’re damn right I have a plan to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Scott tweeted in answer.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s team rejected the president’s claims that he is trying to weaken the program.

“President Biden’s tweet is incorrect,” said Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Senator Johnson. “The senator is trying to save these programs, not put them on the chopping block.”

Social Security can pay full benefits for 13 years, after which 80% of benefits should be paid according to the latest projections from the program administrators.

More than 65 million Americans currently rely on monthly Social Security checks, including retirees, spouses, widows and widowers, children and disabled workers.

But how much impact the program will have on voters in November amid economic concerns such as high inflation and a potential recession remains to be seen.

Securing Social Security ranked fifth among the public’s top policy priorities for 2022, according to a January survey by the Pew Research Center, behind strengthening the economy, lowering health care costs, dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and improving education.

“I don’t see Social Security playing a big role in people’s voting decisions in the meantime,” said Jason Fichtner, chief economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Why Social Security can be a ‘front-burner issue’

Nevertheless, Democrats and proponents of the program are racing to get their message across.

Jon Bauman, chairman of the Social Security Works Political Action Committee, said he expects to travel coast-to-coast to more than 40 candidate events to ensure those who pledge to protect and expand Social Security are elected. .

Bauman, who has campaigned for the program since 2004, calls Social Security a “leading issue for these elections.”

“There has been a Republican Party offensive against Social Security during this cycle,” Bauman said.

That’s especially true because proposals from leaders like Scott and Johnson would force more frequent reviews of the program’s status.

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., and other lawmakers discuss the Social Security 2100 Act, which would include increased minimum benefits, on Capitol Hill on Oct. 26, 2021.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

For Bauman, also known as “Bowzer” of the music group and 1970s TV series “Sha Na Na”, the mission is personal.

“I saw firsthand that when my father died, it was my mother’s Social Security and her Medicare that allowed her to live a dignified and independent life that my grandparents never lived,” Bauman said.

Meanwhile, Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. his bill, Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, that advocates generous benefits.

The proposal currently has more than 200 Democratic co-sponsors. Washington leaders who support the bill hope to put it to a vote this fall.

Important developments to keep an eye on in the run-up to the elections

While that could hinder Democrat-led Social Security proposals, it could also force the bipartisan collaboration needed to actually bring bipartisan reform to the finish line, Fichtner said.

“That creates a potential with President Biden for a social security reform negotiation where he can help drive it,” Fichtner said.

“What better way to really have a legacy for a Democrat than to say you’ve covered Social Security for the next 75 years?” he said.

Whether that happens may depend on another important factor: whether Biden is a one- or two-term president.

If Biden decides to run for reelection, his bargaining power could be significantly reduced ahead of the 2024 election, Fichtner predicts.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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