If you’re concerned about the future of Social Security, it helps to understand what lawmakers in power have said about it. That’s because those in a leadership position at the federal level could potentially make changes that affect benefits for seniors.
Currently, the White House, House of Representatives and US Senate are all controlled by Democrats. Most left-wing lawmakers expressed strong support for the expansion of Social Security and uniform opposition to any cuts in benefits. After the midterm elections next November, however, it is quite possible that control of the House or the Senate will change hands.
If Republicans reclaim the majority in the Senate, current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will likely become Majority Leader. That’s why this quote from McConnell on Social Security is so important.
The potential future majority leader has clarified his position on Social Security
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Mitch McConnell recently addressed the issue of the future of Social Security saying, “If we are lucky enough to have a majority next year, I will be the majority leader. I will decide in consultation with my members what We won’t have a bill on our agenda that raises taxes on half the American people and cuts Social Security and Medicare within five years.
McConnell’s quote came in response to a plan presented by Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee. Scott created “An 11-Point Plan to Save America,” which he described as a blueprint of what the GOP might do if it took control of Congress. Among other things in the plan, Scott called for all federal laws to expire after five years, so Congress would have to re-approve them if they were significant.
This would have the effect of requiring Congress to vote regularly to reauthorize Social Security and Medicare. This would create significant uncertainty for seniors and could pose problems for future retirees, who would not necessarily be able to rely on the social security available to them.
McConnell rejected that plan, however, and his words suggest a Republican majority in the Senate is unlikely to pose a serious immediate threat to Social Security.
Is rights reform off the table?
McConnell’s words are important because they appear to reflect a shift in the Republican Party that has taken place in recent years.
Social Security reform has long been a priority on the right, with many Republican lawmakers worried the program’s finances are in trouble. Traditionally, while the left favored expanding Social Security, lawmakers on the right regularly proposed changes that would serve to de facto cut benefits. These included raising the full retirement age or changing the way increases were calculated to make cost-of-living adjustments less generous.
However, former President Donald Trump has taken a more populist approach and said he does not favor cuts to Social Security that would leave less money for seniors. McConnell’s assurances that Social Security would not be subject to the sunset may suggest that other Republicans have embraced this change and that Social Security cuts may no longer be a priority — or even a Republican goal at all.
If this is indeed the case and this trend continues, current and future retirees may be able to enjoy greater confidence that they will receive all the promised retirement benefits they deserve.
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