Rebecca Vallis, Century Foundation, Jamal Bowman discussed on TIME's Top Stories
When it's supposed to be giving them a lifeline out of it. Says rebecca vallis a senior fellow at the century foundation who has worked with congressional democrats on their plan to overhaul the program a moment like this pandemic potentially presents an opportunity for a paradigm shift a chance for reform in the spring of twenty twenty biden vowed to expand. Ssi benefits as part of his presidential campaigns disability policy platform democrats in congress hoped to hold the president to that promise in april brown and freshman democratic representative. Jamal bowman led a letter with eighteen senators and thirty three members of the house urging biden to prioritize the issue their plan would bring the ssi benefit up to the poverty line increase the asset limited to ten thousand dollars for an individual and twenty thousand dollars for a couple update the income rules and eliminate the marriage penalty and rules that penalize people for in kind support but sl reforms are unlikely to be included in a bipartisan package. Because of cost concerns and conservatives have criticized the democrats plan to push many of their big changes through the budget reconciliation process without any republican support. I don't think it's appealing in the context of throwing it in a reconciliation package. That's completely partisan says. Rachel wrestler a research fellow at the conservative heritage foundation. Lawmakers might be able to come up with a bipartisan agreement to reform. Ssi she says but not just something. That's going to provide a blanket increase in the level of benefits grislier and the heritage foundation argue. There would be less need for. Ssi if social security retirement benefits were privatized and focused more on. Lower income earners still support for increasing monthly. Ssi benefits is growing. The proposed changes are enormously popular with the general public even among republicans just as the stimulus checks and the child tax credit are powerful outside. Groups have backed the idea including afl cio. The united auto workers u. a. w. aarp and the consortium for citizens with disabilities and senate finance committee. Chair ron wyden. A democrat from oregon is on board with brown's plan in addition to senate budget committee chair bernie sanders of vermont. Brown says he has been talking to senate majority leader chuck schumer and other negotiators about ways to make the ssi changes work and says he is optimistic. That at least some can be included in the reconciliation bill. His optimism comes from experience. He worked on the expanded child tax credit for years with representative rosa delauro before the idea became a reality this year with the child tax credit i. I moved on this in two thousand thirteen when only rosa delauro and i were pushing for it and then we got former president barack obama on board. We got the huge majority of democrats almost every democrat onboard. Brown says stuff takes some time sometimes but this is our opportunity now to do it.