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Romney looks to shore up Social Security as part of next coronavirus relief bill

Senator Mitt Romney wants to shore up Social Security as part of the next coronavirus relief bill. (PHOTO Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Senate Republicans unveiled their version of the next round of coronavirus relief legislation Monday. It includes an effort by Senator Mitt Romney to ensure the long-term viability of government trust funds, including Social Security.

Speaking on Social Security

On the Senate floor, Romney detailed an updated version of the TRUST Act, which is a bill to create congressional subcommittees. They would in turn develop legislation to ”rescue the major, endangered federal trust funds.” Specifically, it would create individual “rescue committees” for each of the nation’s trust funds — like the Social Security, Medicare and the Highway trust funds.

“This is the right time to act. Our trust funds are approaching insolvency even more rapidly due to the pandemic. More importantly, if we don’t act now, it will never happen before we face an overwhelming crisis,” Romney said on the Senate floor Monday. “And one of the lessons the COVID-19 crisis has taught us is that it is far better to prepare, and hopefully prevent, a problem than to wait until a crisis is upon us.”

When Romney first introduced the bill last October, the proposal received bipartisan support in both the Senate and House. One supporter has been Utah Democratic Representative Ben McAdams.

“We owe it to [millions of Americans that rely on benefits] and to future generations to carefully consider the options that will ensure we protect and strengthen these programs,” McAdams tells the Deseret News.

Another round of stimulus checks?

Romney’s speech on the floor came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Health, Economic, Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. That legislation would include a second round of individual payments, similar to those in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

The bill, passed in March, gave a $1,200 stimulus check to taxpayers making less than $75,000. Additionally, married couples who earn up to $150,000 received $2,400, based on their 2018 or 2019 taxes. An additional $500 per child was included for parents.

“I can tell you, not everything in our package I agree with. And a lot of things in the Democrat package I don’t agree with,” explains Romney. “But we’ve got to come up with something to help the American people, and our schools and our health care system on an urgent basis. I’d like to see that happen this week.”