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Rep. Barletta Pushes Increased Social Security COLA

By David Gerber, Contributing writer

U.S Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11) is advocating for a change in the cost of living formula used to calculate social security payments.

This week, during a public forum held in Nanticoke, where more than 50 senior citizens and constituents were in attendance, Barletta announced his co-sponsorship of a bill, The CPI for Seniors Act of 2011 (H.R. 1086), that will change the formula the federal government uses to calculate the Social Security costs of living adjustment increases for senior citizens.

Known as the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), it is based on a complex formula using a version of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that looks at the prices of various goods. The problem with this current formula is that it incorporates the cost of living incurred by younger Americans with the cost of living of senior citizens.  This is what Rep. Barletta is striving to change.

By speaking in favor of this legislation, the Congressman is being pragmatic about the needs of his congressional district and is not allowing his conservative ideology to be an impediment to a solution for the district’s seniors. Rep. Barletta’s spokesperson said, “As a member of the freshman class responsible for cutting federal spending for the first time since World War II, Representative Barletta has established a record of fiscal conservatism, but he’s also responsive to the needs of his constituents. During the campaign, during his four town hall meetings, and during his forums in senior citizen centers, Representative Barletta heard from senior citizens about the unfairness of the cost of living adjustments they receive through Social Security.”

More Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation than Republicans. In spite of that, the congressman’s office said, “Representative Barletta heard from senior citizens about the unfairness of the cost of living adjustments they receive through Social Security during town hall meetings, campaigning and forums held in senior citizen centers. Mr. Barletta researched the issue and determined there is a fundamental unfairness in the COLA process, so he’s working to fix it.”

“Senior citizens in the 11th District who rely on Social Security checks have had to get by on less and less, especially since they did not receive cost of living increases in the last two years,” says Barletta. “Seniors spend more on health care, for example, but the lower health care costs of younger people drive down the entire formula. Social Security is a program for senior citizens, so it only makes sense that the formula used to calculate the COLAs reflects the costs and economic realities of seniors.”

It is a long shot that the bill will actually get passed since any change to social security is very tough to pass in a divided congress. It is reasonable to conclude on behalf of Rep. Barletta’s action taken here, he is in tune with his district and understands the reality of the situation. His district needs help and Rep. Barletta is there to provide just that.

“Its time that the CPI formula accurately reflects the real world conditions senior citizens face each and every day,” says Barletta. “This change is long overdue.”

3 Responses

  1. I know Mr. Barletta will do all he can to help the people of his District, especially the Senior Citizens. He is totally aware, and in tune, with these people, and all of the people he represents. He is a total breath of fresh air from the representation we supposedly had in the past.

  2. I applaud Rep. Baletta’s efforts in trying to fix the Social Security COLA. I t will be a much needed and anticipated help for senior citizen’s.
    It is really refreshing to see a “lawmaker” who thinks with his head instead if his pocketbook!

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