Social Security fans like parents bill, skeptics see ‘cynical’ play

social security cardsGroups backing Social Security praised a bill pushed by U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, to help parents who stay home with kids get bigger benefits. Political foes dismissed it as campaign maneuvering.

Murphy pitched the Social Security Parent Penalty Repeal Act as a gender-equality move, helping mothers who get penalized for staying home with kids by revising the formula used to calculate retirement-age benefits. “Too often, the retirement security gender gap is overlooked,” Murphy said Wednesday.

The bill would pay for more generous benefits — and grow the whole system — by enlarging periodic increases in the income level (now about $118,500) subject to Social Security taxes, Murphy said.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare lauded it as “an innovative solution to the loss of Social Security benefits that many Americans experience when they leave the workforce to care for their newborns.”

A bill to expand Social Security likely faces tough sledding in a GOP-controlled Congress. The National Republican Senatorial Committee snorted this was all about Murphy’s primary race for Senate with Alan Grayson.

“It wasn’t that long ago that Murphy was talking about ‘structural changes’ and ‘across the board’ cuts to Social Security,’ said NRSC spokesman Greg Blair. Now he sees a “hard sprint to the left (that) is as cynical as it is laughable.”