Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is warning that Republicans are plotting to cut Social Security benefits for 11 million disabled Americans through a rule change that would make it more difficult to fund the disability account.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders explained what the House rules change will mean for disabled Americans who depend on Social Security:
“Around 11 million Americans, including nearly 2 million children with a disabled parent, rely on Social Security to help keep them out of poverty,” said Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
A new House rule creates a legal obstacle course that would make it harder to shift funds from the Social Security retirement account, which has a big surplus, to the smaller disability account. Such transfers have been done routinely in the past under both Republican and Democratic presidencies, including four times under President Ronald Reagan.
Without a transfer to shore up the disability fund, Social Security Administration experts say the disability program will run short of money next year, and there will be only enough to cover 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“Instead of working to strengthen Social Security for all, the House Republicans’ new rule puts America’s most vulnerable at risk,” Sanders said.
The rule change is a part of a Republican effort to kill Social Security. If the disability fund can’t be replenished, Benefits will have to be cut, and some of the most economically vulnerable people in our society will be pushed deeper into poverty. According to experts, the problem with the Social Security disability cash assistance programs is that it limits the earnings of disabled individuals to just above the poverty line. This creates a trap that makes it impossible for individuals who can’t work to escape poverty.
The ideal solution would be the exact opposite of what Republicans are trying to do. Instead of cutting benefits, lawmakers should raise the income limit, so that disabled individuals can keep their benefits while also possessing an avenue to potentially escape poverty.
The Republican rule change that would lead to more benefits cuts will only push millions of Americans with no source of income further into poverty. House Republicans are repeating a pattern of attacking those who most need assistance. Since they have taken over the majority, Republicans have tried to cut benefits for the unemployed, children, wounded veterans, the elderly, and the disabled.
Sen. Sanders is using his position as the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee to sound the warning about what Republicans intend to do. The Republican agenda is all about taking from those at the bottom in order to give more to those at the top. Republicans want to carry out a massive upward redistribution of wealth. John Boehner rejected the idea of a $2,000 tax cut for middle-class families but has long been a champion of permanent tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
The Republican desire to remake America into an oligarchy knows no limits. Sen. Sanders is leading the charge against the oligarchs, and the economic future of millions depends on his warnings being heeded.