Speeches and Statements

Rep. Murphy Committee Speech on H.R. 860, the Social Security 2100 Act

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Washington, July 25, 2019 | comments
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the witnesses for their testimony.

Social Security is the bedrock of our retirement system. It is one of the most successful government programs of all time, helping to keep millions of seniors out of poverty.

It’s also important to remember that Social Security is not an entitlement; it is a benefit seniors have paid into and earned after a lifetime of hard work.

There are 4.6 million people in Florida, including 125,000 people in my Orlando-area district, who rely in whole or in part on their modest Social Security benefits in order to meet their needs during retirement.

While these benefits are critical, they have not kept pace with the rising cost of living that many retirees face.

There is also a looming crisis for Social Security. The latest Trustees Report projects that the program’s reserves will be depleted in 2035—16 years from now. If no action is taken before then, benefits would automatically be reduced. Clearly, doing nothing is not an option.

Rather than waiting for the looming crisis to become an imminent crisis, as Congress often does, Chairman Larson has worked hard to craft a serious and comprehensive bill that would achieve sustainable solvency for the Social Security Trust Fund. While I have some reservations about this bill, I applaud Chairman Larson on his bold leadership.

As we move forward in this process, we must do everything we can to keep the promise of Social Security…that if you work hard all of your life, you can retire with dignity.

With this goal in mind, I have four principles:

1. First, we should strengthen benefits, not cut them, for retirees as the cost-of-living in places like Florida continues to rise and these benefit formulas should more accurately reflect seniors spending habits.
2. Second, we should ensure everyone pays their fair share into the Social Security Trust Fund without placing additional burdens on already struggling lower- and middle-class families.
3. Third, we must protect the Social Security Trust Fund from being raided by Congress to pay for other programs.
4. And finally, any path forward on Social Security must be bipartisan as we’ve got to stop treating Social Security like a political football. Our seniors deserve better and the American people deserve better.

Mr. Larson deserves tremendous credit. With his bill, he has entered the proverbial arena. Meanwhile, the other side of the aisle is sitting in the stands, offering politically-based critiques but no substantive solutions. If we’re going to make progress here, this will have to change. And I look forward to working with Chairman Larson and the rest of the committee to find a solution to this impending crisis.

PDF version of this speech available here.
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