Eleanor Holmes Norton on Social Security
Democratic Representative (DC-Delegate)
Changing Social Security disproportionately affects women.
Norton co-sponsored changing Social Security disproportionately affect women
RESOLUTION: Recognizing the unique effects that proposals to reform Social Security may have on women.
Source: H.RES.128 01-H128 on May 1, 2001
- Whereas the Social Security benefit structure is of particular importance to low-earning wives and widows, with 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receiving wife's or widow's benefits;
- Whereas 3/4 of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income;
- Whereas without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%;
- Whereas women tend to live longer and tend to have lower lifetime earnings than men do;
- Whereas women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time; and
Whereas during these years in the workforce, women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes the unique obstacles that women face in ensuring retirement security and survivor and disability stability and the essential role that Social Security plays in guaranteeing inflation-protected financial stability for women throughout their entire old age, and it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Congress and the President should take these factors into account when considering proposals to reform the Social Security system.
Reject proposals for private saving accounts.
Norton co-sponsored rejecting proposals for private saving accounts
To reject proposals to partially or completely substitute private saving accounts for the lifelong, guaranteed, inflation-protected insurance benefits provided through Social Security. The Congress finds the following:
- President Bush promised to partially privatize Social Security, and appointed a commission to develop a plan on his behalf.
- The commission developed three alternative plans that would partially privatize Social Security.
- The plans divert substantial monies from the Social Security Trust Funds to pay for the private accounts, which threatens benefits for current beneficiaries by significantly weakening the financial condition of the Trust Funds.
- The plans' cuts in disability and survivor benefits directly contradict the President's promise that disability and survivor benefits would be preserved under privatization.
- Furthermore, these reductions in guaranteed benefits apply to all workers,
regardless of whether they chose to have an individual account or not.
- Substituting private accounts for guaranteed Social Security benefits increases financial risk for retirees, disabled workers and their families.
- Moreover, other proposals to privatize Social Security, such as the 'Social Security Guarantee Plus' plan or the 'Social Security Ownership and Guarantee' plan, establish private accounts that directly or indirectly reduce Social Security benefits.
Source: H.R.4780 02-H4780 on May 21, 2002
- The Congress hereby commits to preserve the guaranteed, lifelong, inflation-protected benefits provided under the Social Security Act to retirees, disabled workers and their families, and the survivors of deceased workers; and
- Congress therefore rejects the President's plans to partially privatize Social Security, and other proposals to privatize Social Security by establishing private accounts that would undermine traditional Social Security benefits.
Reject privatization; don't raise the retirement age.
Norton signed the Social Security Protectors Pledge
Some 200 Democratic House and Senate candidates have signed on to a pledge rejecting any effort to privatize or scale back Social Security benefits or raise the retirement age.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee sponsored this pledge among Congressional candidates.
Source: PCCC Survey 10-PCCC on Aug 11, 2010
Sponsored keeping CPI for benefits instead of lower "Chained CPI".
Norton co-sponsored Resolution on CPI
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) should not be used to adjust Social Security benefits.
- WHEREAS the Social Security program continues to provide modest benefits--averaging approximately $14,000 per year--to more than 53,000,000 individuals
- WHEREAS the Trust Fund can pay full benefits through 2032;
- WHEREAS the Social Security program is designed to ensure that benefits keep pace with inflation through cost-of-living adjustments based on the CPI which measures prices of goods and services;
- WHEREAS the Chained CPI adjusts for projected changes in consumer behavior resulting from price fluctuations known as the 'substitution effect', which occurs when consumers buy alternative goods and services whose prices are rising more slowly than average;
- Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED that the Chained CPI should not be used to calculate cost of living adjustments for
Social Security benefits.
Opponent's argument against bill:(Congressional Testimony by Jeffrey Kling, Congressional Budget Office Associate Director for Economic Analysis, April 18, 2013):
The chained CPI grows more slowly than the trad
Source: H.CON.RES.34 & S.Con.Res.15 13-HCR34 on Apr 18, 2013
Supported pension reform and tax credits for long-term care.
Norton adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women’s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 7: RETIREMENT:
- HR1102—Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act—provide for pension reform (Portman/Cardin)
- HR2102—Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 1999—allow deducting long-term care insurance premiums and a credit for individuals with long term care needs. (N. Johnson/Thurman)
- HR2261—Health Insurance Affordability and Equity Act of 1999—provide incentives for health coverage by providing credits and deductions for unemployed and self-employed to cover health care costs. (N. Johnson)
- HR1021—Small Business Pension Start-Up Credit Act of 1999—allow small employers a credit against income tax for costs incurred in establishing a qualified employer plan (Stabenow/Camp)
- HR957—Farm and Ranch Risk Management Act—allow farmers to put money into the equivalent of IRAs to cover expenses during
downturns in the market. (Hulshof/Thurman)
The Caucus supports efforts to ensure that the unique needs of women are recognized and addressed in efforts to shore up Social Security. The Caucus supports efforts to educate women about pension plans and encourage women to save for retirement. The Caucus recognizes that:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC10 on Jul 15, 1999
- 63% of women beneficiaries aged 62 or older receive wife’s or widow’s benefits.
- Three-quarters of unmarried and widowed elderly women rely on Social Security for over half of their income.
- Without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2% and among widows would have been 60.6%.
- Women tend to live longer and have lower lifetime earnings than men.
- Women spend an average of 11.5 years out of their careers to care for their families, and are more likely to work part-time than full-time
- Women earn an average of 70 cents for every dollar men earn.
Page last updated: Jan 28, 2017