Washington, D.C.--Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after holding a press conference and human chain event to demand that cuts to the Social Security benefits millions of Americans have earned are not put on the table to end the government shutdown.  20 members of the CPC and the Democratic Caucus were joined by retired Americans, the Alliance for Retired Americans, Social Security Works and National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.


“Social Security is a promise we must keep. The money our grandmothers, grandfathers, widows and children rely on should not be used as bargaining chips in any debate. Moving towards the new benefit calculation for Americans receiving Social Security, known as chained-CPI, will cost those on Social Security an average of $650 a year. For millions who depend on Social Security, a loss that large could force them to choose between rent and health care.


“The average earned benefit for a 65 year old on Social Security is $14,800 a year. Moving to chained CPI will result in a $6,000 loss for retirees in the first fifteen years of retirement, adding up to a $16,000 loss over twenty-five years. This change would be devastating to beneficiaries, especially widowed women, more than a third of whom rely on the program for 90% of their income and use every single dollar of the Social Security checks they’ve earned.


“Calculating benefits for Social Security beneficiaries with chained CPI isn’t a reform—it’s a benefit cut. Americans oppose cutting Social Security or shutting down the government to deny millions of Americans health care. They won’t be bullied into changing their minds, and neither will we.”