The latest estimates for the Social Security trust fund continue to forecast a depletion by 2035, and the state of the fund has only become further strained due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Addressing the need to strengthen the entitlement programs remains essential work for legislators, and that is what the proposed Time to Rescue United States Trusts (TRUST) Act aims to do, according to a story published by Fox Business.
Primarily sponsored by Utah Senator and former 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the bill aims to “establish congressional rescue committees to develop recommendations and legislation to improve critical social contract programs,” according to its official description at Congress.gov.
The bill currently has 14 co-sponsors in the Senate, including five Democrats and one Independent. The negative forecasts predicting premature exhaustion of both the Social Security and Medicare trust funds require quick action on the parts of legislators from both political parties, Romney described.
“These trust funds are all projected to expire within a decade or so, in some cases just within two or three years,” Romney said in an interview with Fox Business. “So in order to avoid a dramatic reduction in benefits for these programs, we need to take action now to make sure that we save them and we assure their long term solvency.”
Romney took his appeal to the television audience to relate what would happen if the funds are exhausted by current estimates, describing a serious reduction in benefits that would place seniors in a very difficult situation, he says.
“Social Security looks like [it will run out in] about 12 years,” he said. “And in the case, for instance, of what happens when the Social Security trust fund is gone, which would happen in 10 to 12 years, under the law, that would result in approximately a 30% reduction of benefits. So that’s unacceptable. That cannot happen.”
The proposal in the TRUST Act, which has been pushed by Romney since late last year, comes from a rare unified front on the parts of both Democrats and Republicans to maintain the social safety net programs, he says.
“I can assure you, there is no way the Democrats or the Republicans are going to vote for cuts to people who are on Social Security or Medicare,” Romney said. “This is not going to happen. Neither party wants that to happen. What we’re looking at is what has to be done down the road to make sure there’s enough revenue coming in to assure that the young people that are going to rely on Social Security and Medicare 20, 30, 40 years from now actually have a program that solvent and that can provide the benefits which are being promised today.”