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Brady Opening Statement at Legislative Hearing on the Social Security 2100 Act

July 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Legislative Hearing on the Social Security 2100 Act.

According to the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, this plan is expected to cost nearly $19 trillion.  And the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this plan will subject workers with poverty-level earnings to a tax hike of nearly 1,000% over the next decade, as well force workers to pay an additional $1.3 trillion in payroll taxes — and that’s not even fully phased in.

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

“Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty program in our nation’s history.  That’s a fact.

“For our seniors who have worked hard their entire lives, for our neighbors with disabilities who we want to see prosper, and for so many families, Social Security is a lifeline. 

“But it is struggling financially, and can’t survive in the long haul without thoughtful, bipartisan changes.

“I commend Congressman Larson on advancing the discussion.

“Republicans on this Committee are eager to work with Democrats to save Social Security once and for all, for every generation.

“This is an anti-poverty program that works, one that future generations should be able to count on.

“But this must be done without forcing young people—America’s future—to struggle with smaller paychecks their entire working lives.  This will only hurt those we are trying to help the most.

“The bill being debated today, the Social Security 2100 Act, harms young workers, hurts small businesses, and slows our American economy.

“Regrettably, this is not a Social Security reform bill, it’s just Washington pinching more of your paycheck, seizing more of what you earn.

“To be clear, this is a secret $19 trillion tax increase on workers and small businesses.

“According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, this outrageous paycheck grab would be a nearly 1,000 percent increase in payroll taxes for low-income folks.

“Think about that.

“You’re a 23-year old who just graduated college with $50,000 in staggering college debt that will take you two decades to pay off to the government.

“Which means delaying purchasing that car you need, the home you hope to own, and starting the family you dream of.

“Instead of helping you, this bill forces you cough up another $50,000 in payroll taxes to bankroll benefits for seniors and the wealthy – cutting your lifetime income by more than 2 percent over your career.

“That’s because you may not get as much back as you put in, leaving our younger generation worse off.

“Millennials get ripped off in this bill.

“They’re not the only ones.

“Working families with both working spouses will face a yearly tax increase of $2,100.

“And a single mom with two kids, who today under our new tax code doesn’t pay a penny in federal income taxes on the first $53,000 on her income, will see her paycheck cut by $1,344 each and every year. 

“Your grandkids get mugged.  To give your grandma a mere $32 more a month in her social Security, a low-earning grandchild will pay over $53,000 in higher payroll taxes.  Middle-class young people will pay even more.

“Main Street small businesses get hammered, too.  Women and minority-owned businesses, first generation entrepreneurs, young business start-ups – their taxes also go up.

“Meaning they have less money to hire workers, raise wages, grow their business, or contribute to their local economy. 

“Worse, both millennials and small businesses will struggle to save more for their own retirement.

“They will contribute less to their IRAs and 401(k)s because they are giving more to Washington, D.C. 

“Seniors deserve better.  Workers deserve better.  Our children and grandchildren deserve better.

“If we were truly interested in strengthening Social Security, we would be doing this on a bipartisan basis.

“Not once in the program’s nearly century-long history have reforms to the program been made without Republican and Democrat input.

“There are ways to reform this program without devastating tax hikes on millennials, working families, and local businesses.

“Republicans want to secure benefits for current and future generations without taking away workers’ hard-earned money.  We must do so through long-term economic growth.

“The best way to achieve that growth is through promoting work, not penalizing it.  Social Security already discourages work, particularly among women and seniors.

“Let’s reform the program so that the best safety net available – a good paying job – is part of the equation.

“Democrats often cry ‘you don’t have a plan.’

“We do, and we start Social Security reform by making sure our teachers, firefighters and police receive the Social Security they have earned – just like every other American worker.

“This is a bipartisan issue – let’s start there in a way that doesn’t hurt Social Security or raise payroll taxes.

“And while reforming the program, we must put our most vulnerable neighbors first.

“That means focused reforms that help make sure Social Security is meaningful for long-career low-wage workers and others who rely on this program.

“Finally, if there is one key point we all agree on it is this: we must act now.

“We cannot punt reforms down the road.  While Social Security’s solvency has improved in today’s economy following our new tax code becoming law, congressional action today will require reforms nearly twice as substantial as those enacted in 1983.

“The time is now to reform and save this program for all generations.

“Republicans are hopeful we can do so together, without massive tax hikes that are bad for young people, bad for small business, and bad for the economy.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”