Barbara Boxer on Social Security

Last Updated : Jun 23, 2010

Summary

Senator Boxer supports the current system of social security.  She opposes any privatization of the system, and has voted against private accounts, allowing citizens to move some of their social security money into an IRA, and voted against an amendment to establish an income tax deduction for Social Security taxes paid by employees and the self-employed.

Senator Boxer supports the granting of social security benefits to surviving members of same sex couples, just as married survivors of marriage today receive benefits if the spouse that earned the money passes away.

Senator Boxer does not address social security on her campaign website.

 

The Progressive Interview

In 2005, Senator Boxer did an interview with "The Progressive" magazine and was asked about the strength of the Republican party.  She spoke about how the Democrats were able to turn back the President's plan to partially privatize social security.  She stated that social security was in no real trouble.

 

Same sex couple benefits

 At the Rock For Equality Social Security Rally in April of 2010, Senator Boxer spoke about the unfairness suffered by same-sex couples with respect to social security laws.  She spoke about her support for granting social security benefits to the survivors of same-sex couples in the same way that the survivor of a married couple continues to receive benefits after a spouse dies.

Voting Record

Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011

In February of 2012, the Senate voted on accepting the conference report for the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011. The legislation extended unemployment benefits, forced a decision on the Keystone Pipeline project, and provided for certain medicare levels. Mainly, the legislation continued the 2% employer side reduction in payroll taxes for social security. This reduction is funded by bringing money into social security from the general revenue fund, thus adding to the debt. The legislation passed the Senate 60-36. Barbara Boxer voted in favor of the legislation.

Barbara Boxer voted in favor of the legislation.

Amendment - Social Security Reserve Fund

In 2007, congress attempted to pass an amendment to create a reserve fund for social security. This action was prompted by the increasing awareness that the Social Security program may not be financially solvent in the near future. Opponents claimed that the move was an end-around method to privatize social security. The amendment was largely supported by Republicans and largely opposed by Democrats. The amendment failed in a 45-52 vote. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to create a reserve fund for social security.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to create a reserve fund for social security.

Amendment - Balanced Budget without Social Security

In April of 1999, the Senate voted on an amendment to prevent the government from using the social security surplus from balancing the federal budget. It created a "locbox" for the social security surplus and established limits on the federal debt. The amendment established four findings and two resolutions with multiple points of order to enforce those resolutions. These findings and resolutions were:

Congress finds that--

(1) the $69,246,000,000 unified budget surplus achieved in fiscal year 1998 was entirely due to surpluses generated by the social security trust funds and the cumulative unified budget surpluses projected for subsequent fiscal years are primarily due to surpluses generated by the social security trust funds;

(2) Congress and the President should balance the budget excluding the surpluses generated by the social security trust funds;

(3) according to the Congressional Budget Office, balancing the budget excluding the surpluses generated by the social security trust funds will reduce the debt held by the public by a total of $1,723,000,000,000 by the end of fiscal year 2009; and

(4) social security surpluses should be used for social security reform or to reduce the debt held by the public and should not be spent on other programs.

SEC. 203. PROTECTION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUNDS.

(a) PROTECTION BY CONGRESS.--

(1) REAFFIRMATION OF SUPPORT.--Congress reaffirms its support for the provisions of section 13301 of the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 that provides that the receipts and disbursements of the social security trust funds shall not be counted for the purposes of the budget submitted by the President, the congressional budget, or the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

(2) PROTECTION OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS.--If there are sufficient balances in the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Secretary of Treasury shall give priority to the payment of social security benefits required to be paid by law.

The vote failed to overcome a cloture motion. However, it did get the majority of a 54-45 vote. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to create a lock box for social security surpluses and limit the federal debt.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to create a lock box for social security surpluses and limit the federal debt.

Amendment - Private Accounts

In April of 1998, the Senate voted on amendment 2209 to the budget for that year. The amendment contained nine findings and a resolution. The nine findings were:

(1) The social security program is the foundation of retirement income for most Americans, and solving the financial problems of the social security program is a vital national priority and essential for the retirement security of today's working Americans and their families.

(2) There is a growing bipartisan consensus that personal retirement accounts should be an important feature of social security reform.

(3) Personal retirement accounts can provide a substantial retirement nest egg and real personal wealth. For an individual 28 years old on the date of the adoption of this resolution, earning an average wage, and retiring at age 65 in 2035, just 1 percent of that individual's wages deposited each year in a personal retirement account and invested in securities consisting of the Standard & Poors 500 would grow to $132,000, and be worth approximately 20 percent of the benefits that would be provided to the individual under the current provisions of the social security program.

(4) Personal retirement accounts would give the majority of Americans who do not own any investment assets a new stake in the economic growth of America.

(5) Personal retirement accounts would demonstrate the value of savings and the magic of compound interest to all Americans. Today, Americans save less than people in almost every other country.

(6) Personal retirement accounts would help Americans to better prepare for retirement generally. According to the Congressional Research Service, 60 percent of Americans are not actively participating in a retirement plan other than social security, although social security was never intended to be the sole source of retirement income.

(7) Personal retirement accounts would allow partial prefunding of retirement benefits, thereby providing for social security's future financial stability.

(8) The Federal budget will register a surplus of $671,000,000,000 over the next 10 years, offering a unique opportunity to begin a permanent solution to social security's financing.

(9) Using the Federal budget surplus to fund personal retirement accounts would be an important first step in comprehensive social security reform and ensuring the delivery of promised retirement benefits.

(b) Sense of the Senate: It is the sense of the Senate that this resolution assumes that the Committee on Finance shall consider and report a legislative proposal this year that would dedicate the Federal budget surplus to the establishment of a program of personal retirement accounts for working Americans and reduce the unfunded liabilities of the social security program.

The amendment was agreed to in the Senate 51-49. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to use surplus social security funds for private accounts.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to use surplus social security funds for private accounts.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 484; Social Security Fairness Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act to repeal: (1) government pension offset requirements applicable to husband's and wife's insurance benefits, widow's and widower's insurance benefits, and mother's and father's insurance benefits with respect to OASDI payments; and (2) windfall elimination requirements with respect to computation of an individual's primary insurance amount.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 484; A bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act to repeal the Government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions - Cosponsor

Amends title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act to repeal: (1) government pension offset requirements applicable to husband's and wife's insurance benefits, widow's and widower's insurance benefits, and mother's and father's insurance benefits with respect to OASDI payments; and (2) windfall elimination requirements with respect to computation of an individual's primary insurance amount.

Session-111; Bill Number-S Res 664; Opposition to Social Security - Cosponsor

Expresses the sense of the Senate to reaffirm its commitment to the Social Security program, without privatizing it, raising the Normal Retirement Age, or making other similar cuts to benefits under title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 206; Social Security Fairness Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act to repeal the Government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions.

References

[1] Website: The Progressive Article: Barbara Boxer Interview Author: Ruth Conniff Accessed on: 06/24/2010

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