Sanders pushes bill to expand Social Security

WASHINGTON (WCAX) Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday introduced a bill to expand Social Security.

Surrounded by Democratic lawmakers, Sanders made his pitch for the bill he says will strengthen Social Security benefits and strengthen the retirement program for future generations. The bill aims to achieve those goals by scrapping the earnings cap on Social Security taxes.

"A multibillionaire pays exactly the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who earns $132,000 a year. This is an absolutely regressive approach to taxation and today we say that is going to end," said Sanders, I-Vermont.

The bill applies Social Security payroll taxes on all income, including capital gains and dividends, for those who make over $250,000 a year.

Sanders said the bill would increase benefits by more than $1,300 a year for seniors making less than $16,000 a year annually.

Sanders, seen by many as a contender for the presidency in 2020, was joined Wednesday by two other candidates: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker. The senators from New York and New Jersey are co-sponsoring the bill.

The two Democrats are seen as more moderate than Sanders. But Wednesday, they embraced parts of his economic message, throwing their support behind the bill to expand Social Security.

"If we had a fair taxation system, then everyone in this country would have what governments are for-- to give common defense, to give for common security," Booker said.

"The only people paying into Social Security is earned income. What about dividend income? What about capital gains? Why do owners get a better tax rate than everybody else? Why do owners have to pay less than everyone else? This should be the common good fund," Gillibrand said.

Another Democratic senator running for president, Kamala Harris, is also a co-sponsor of the bill.

Despite support from Democrats, the bill is unlikely to gain much traction in the Senate where Republicans hold a majority.