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U.S. Chamber Calls for Congressional Action

Monday, March 6, 2000 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce called on the Senate to follow the House's lead and eliminate the Social Security earnings limit on outside income to ease the current shortage of workers.

"Removing seniors' disincentive to work will help keep skilled workers where they're needed – on the job," said Bruce Josten, Executive Vice President of the Chamber. "American business is facing a severe worker shortage that will only get worse as baby boomers move into retirement age in increasing numbers."

The Senate is currently considering legislation from Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) that would allow senior citizens who want to work to do so without losing Social Security benefits. Under current law, seniors age 65 through 69 lose one dollar in benefits for every three dollars they earn over $17,000.

"Demographics are destiny," Josten pointed out. "The Social Security limits were originally meant to encourage older workers to retire and make way for the record number of workers born during the baby boom. Now there are not enough workers in this country to replace those baby boomers as they reach retirement."

Recent studies have shown critical shortages of available workers in all industries and geographic regions, according to the Chamber. Particularly hard hit are service industries and companies that rely on highly-skilled employees, where holding onto a trained labor force is vitally important.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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