Bustos Advocates For Middle Class, Seniors In Budget Letter To Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) continued her work to protect Medicare and Social Security by sending a letter to President Obama urging him to stand with seniors and middle class families and reject the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI). Using the chained CPI to calculate cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security would reduce benefits that middle class seniors are relying on.

“This year, we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the greatest anti-poverty program in American history,” Bustos said. “Last night, our President pledged to send a budget that prioritizes the middle class to Congress. A budget that protects the almost one in five Americans who currently rely on Social Security, and rejects a proposal to switched to the chained CPI system, will do just that. A reduction in earned benefits would have a serious impact on seniors’ ability to afford basic necessities and is one they hardly deserve after a lifetime of hard work.”

Last year, Bustos, a steadfast and constant advocate for middle class families and seniors, led a coalition of other Members in sending a similar letter that was successful in urging the President to reject chained CPI in his budget proposal. In 2013, she introduced a resolution opposing its inclusion in his budget for FY 2014.

Bustos’ letter to the President is below and HERE.

January 21, 2015

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you finalize your Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget recommendations, I urge you to reject any proposals that could cut Social Security and Medicare benefits or shift costs to those who rely on these critically important programs. At a time when many seniors are struggling financially we need to work together to strengthen economic security for them, not to increase uncertainty and add to their economic burden. Specifically, I ask you once again this year to disregard using the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate cost-of-living and inflation adjustments for federal programs such as Social Security.

This year, we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security and commemorate the tremendous impact it has made in allowing seniors to live out their golden years with dignity. Close to 1 in 5 Americans or nearly 66 million people are currently receiving monthly benefits from Social Security and its earned benefits represent 90 percent or more of total income for one in three retirees.

Chained CPI would reduce these earned benefits over time because it fails to take into account inflation for older Americans. As you know, many seniors already face tight personal budgets, challenges that the recession only exacerbated. For many seniors living on a fixed income, any reduction in benefits would have a serious impact on their ability to afford basic necessities, like food, housing and medication. 

I recognize that measures are required to address our nation’s long-term budget challenges, and appreciate the difficult choices you face as you prepare a fiscal blueprint to promote economic growth. But, I respectfully ask that once again you choose not to place the burden of additional deficit reduction on the backs of seniors, veterans, federal retirees, disabled individuals and others by including chained CPI in your Budget for Fiscal Year 2016.


Cheri Bustos

Member of Congress