Happy 86th birthday, Social Security — it’s time to expand benefits

Originally published by The Hill–

This year, Social Security’s birthday, Aug. 14, comes at an exciting time. Congress is on the verge of greatly expanding our economic security through its upcoming reconciliation bill. 

Because Social Security cannot be addressed through budget reconciliation, it is not part of that legislation. But given the overwhelming consensus among the American people in support of expanding Social Security’s modest benefits, Congress should make it the next priority immediately after the Build Back Better legislation passes.  

Enacting legislation that expands Social Security builds on the strong foundation laid down by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his colleagues eighty-six years ago, on Aug. 14, 1935. On that August day, when President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, he described the new law as “a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete.” 

But now, at long last, a president who ran on expanding Social Security benefits sits in the Oval Office. Democrats control both chambers of Congress. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), a leading champion of expanding Social Security, chairs the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a fighter for working families, chairs the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy.