Donald Lee Bingham’s criticism of Rep. Vern Buchanan regarding his Social Security increase/decrease is misplaced (Letters, Jan. 4). He should have addressed his complaint about the Social Security COLA to Obama, not Buchanan.
Congress has not determined Social Security increases since 1971, decades before Buchanan’s tenure. Now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Labor Department unit, calculates the COLA. That would be under the control of the Executive Branch, not Legislative.
The Social Security Administration is also under control of the Executive Branch; specifically, Health and Human Services.
Furthermore, Buchanan is bound by the 1972 Social Security Amendments (Public Law 92-603), which gave the Bureau of Labor Statistics the power to make the COLA calculation. The 1972 Congress had a solid Democrat majority in both chambers, so maybe they should share some of Bingham’s criticism as well.
Bingham further asks, “... did the members of Congress receive the same COLA raise as I did?”
I can answer that for him: No, they didn’t. Although Congress is eligible to automatically receive the same COLA as other federal employees, they have passed joint resolutions since 2009 to decline the increases. Incidentally, Buchanan voted in 2009 to repeal the automatic increase.
If Bingham wants to be on a level playing field with Buchanan, I suggest he refuse any Social Security increases he has received since 2009.
Timothy A. Van Eck