FACT CHECK: Did Every Democrat Vote Against A Cost-Of-Living Increase For Social Security?
An image shared on Facebook claims that every congressional Democrat voted against a 2.8 percent cost-of-living increase for Social Security.
The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) changes each year automatically, without input from Congress. Democrats did not vote on whether to alter or deny the adjustment for 2019.
These adjustments are based on the change in consumer prices for a basket of goods and services purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers. Benefits go up if there is a measurable increase in the index year over year; otherwise, there is no adjustment.
The SSA announced a 2.8 percent increase for 2019, the largest annual adjustment since 2012 and likely the source of the percentage cited by the meme. In recent years, COLAs have been smaller – there was a 2 percent increase in 2018, 0.3 percent in 2017 and no adjustment at all in 2016. However, Congress did not vote on any of these adjustments.
“There have been no House votes in recent sessions of Congress on Social Security COLAs or other one-time payment increases,” Erin Hatch, press secretary for Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, told The Daily Caller in an email. “The COLA for this year is 2.8 percent, but this came from an automatic adjustment set in law, not from a vote.”
There have also been no recent votes to deny Social Security COLAs in the Senate.
The bill proposes a benefit increase of about 2 percent of the average benefit. Additionally, it would change the index used for calculating COLAs to one that more heavily weighs the services that older Americans use, like health care.
The legislation has garnering more than 200 co-sponsors in the House, all of whom are Democrats.