I am committed to addressing the challenges facing Social Security, sustaining and protecting the program for current beneficiaries and future retirees. No program does more to ensure that every American can have a decent retirement.
Many seniors live on a fixed income, and I know how important their Social Security checks are for their medicines and day-to-day living expenses. Based on current forecasts, Social Security can pay full benefits until 2030, after which it will only be able to pay 75 percent of its promised benefits. In 2011, Social Security saw its expenditures exceed its revenues for the first time in decades.
While the system is not facing a crisis tomorrow, it will face some substantial structural problems in the not-too-distant future. And every year we delay addressing the issue, the solutions become more expensive and more painful.
Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act
The government must honor the promises it has made to those who have retired or are reaching retirement soon. I support legislation that would make changes to Social Security for the next generation of recipients, those under 55, while leaving the current system in place for those who have planned their retirements around it.
I believe a good place to start would be passage of legislation I introduced again this Congress, the Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act. The bill calls for a bipartisan and bicameral commission tasked with recommending reforms to ensure Social Security is solvent for at least 75 years. Congress would then be required to vote up or down on the commission’s recommendations within 60 legislative days.
More on Social Security
This week the 115th Congress will be sworn in and will immediately be faced with a host of challenges and opportunities. I am honored to serve another term as the Representative for the Fourth District of Oklahoma. When I was first elected in 2002, I was proud to serve with a Republican Administration and in the majority party in Congress. Six years later my party was the minority party and the United States had elected a Democratic president. In November 2016, the voters elected a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.
As long as President Obama is in office and Republicans control Congress, the nation will remain in an era of divided government. Given our system of checks and balances, true negotiation must take place and real compromise must be reached to govern effectively. And like I’ve said on numerous occasions, neither side can ever get all that it wants in a negotiation. In fact, in a true negotiation you’ll always get less than you want and give up more than you’d like.
The Department of Treasury and Office of Management and Budget recently reported that the annual federal deficit had declined to its lowest level in years. At first glance, this sounds like very good news, and predictably President Obama was quick to claim it as his victory. However, even though the report certainly signals that some responsible choices have been made to slow the rate of spending, the reality is that the government still consistently spends outside its means and in so doing adds to our country’s already heavy burden of debt.