Rep. Schakowsky speaks at North Shore Senior Center

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) took to the North Shore Senior Center in Northfield on Aug. 19 to celebrate a milestone for the Social Security Administration, while also spotlighting two of its legislative priorities, Social Security protection and health care costs.

“This month we celebrate the 87th anniversary of Social Security, which is truly one of the most popular and wonderful programs we have in the United States of America,” Schakowsky said.

The future of Social Security and health care is in question as Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis), propose deleting the programs as federal entitlement programs to make them discretionary funds that are approved annually by Congress.

“If you qualify for the right, you just get it, no matter the cost,” Johnson said on the August 2 episode of the podcast “The Regular Joe Show.” “And our problem in this country is that more than 70% of our federal budget, of our federal spending, is all compulsory spending. It’s on autopilot. It’s never – you’re just not doing proper supervision. You don’t get in there and fix the programs that go bankrupt. It just goes on autopilot.”

Schakowsky, who serves as co-chair of the Task Force on Aging and Families, said Social Security has lifted people out of poverty and believes abolishing the program would harm her 125,179 voters who receive monthly benefits. .

To combat this, Schakowsky has been working with fellow lawmakers on a bill to protect Social Security benefits.

“I am one of the co-sponsors of a bill called Social Security 2100 that would increase the benefit for everyone,” Schakowsky said. “The other thing it would do is end the five-month waiting period for disability benefits.”

While some lawmakers, like Johnson, don’t see the long-term sustainability of Social Security, Schakowsky has a solution in sight that she says won’t affect the middle class.

“We can pay for this increase in Social Security benefits by lifting the income cap for people who pay to Social Security,” she said. “Then richer people will pay more for social security. We say the richest people should pay more to make sure this treasure is solvent in our country.”

She said she also wants to fight high health care costs and said her unwavering support for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which broke a legal precedent that hindered negotiations on drug costs for Medicare employees, is one such example.

(A few years ago) we had the vote on the Medicare Part D program and what we saw that the pharmaceutical industry successfully put into a one-sentence line that said, ‘It would be illegal for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices’ “, she said. said.

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed by President Joe Biden on August 16. Democratic lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the bill, with every Republican senator rejecting the bill.

The legislation will outline a preliminary list of drugs that Medicare can negotiate with drug companies as the next step. Schakowsky said this list will expand over time.

Schakowsky is running for reelection in November against Republican energy adviser Maxwell Rice. Rice previously ran for Congress in 2018 and is running a campaign aimed at investigating corrupt government officials in Illinois.

Corey Schmidt is a freelance reporter at Pioneer Press.

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