Last year, Harkin led a group of senators who opposed using the chained CPI to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for benefits given to Social Security recipients and to disabled veterans.
"Using chained CPI to calculate Social Security benefits amounts to nothing more than a benefit cut for those who need it most," Harkin said.
"Social Security does not contribute to the federal budget deficit and has no place in proposals to reduce the deficit. In fact, Congress should explore ways to expand Social Security and ensure that cost-of-living adjustments accurately reflect the true costs of living faced by seniors, like higher health-care costs."
Harkins said Social Security "helps lift more than one-third of retirees above the poverty line, and many seniors rely on Social Security as their sole source of income."
But on Thursday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Ernest said the stingier chained CPI was not included in Obama's proposed 2015 budget because Republicans never made any serious proposals to reduce tax cuts for the very wealthy.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently reported that half of all Americans have less than $10,000 in savings and that only 14 percent are "very confident" they will have enough money to retire.
Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, said, "We applaud President Obama's decision to drop from his upcoming budget the Social Security benefit cut known as the chained CPI.
"In light of our looming retirement income crisis -- on which the president has shone an important spotlight -- we should be expanding, not cutting, Social Security."
Social Security Works is the leading organization in a coalition of more than 350 national and state groups, including labor unions, women's groups and civil rights organizations.
On Friday, Capito said she opposes proposals to privatize Social Security.
"Social Security provides critical income for hundreds of thousands of West Virginia seniors. I opposed plans to establish private accounts when they were last seriously considered in 2005, and I would oppose any similar proposal if offered today," Capito told The Charleston Gazette.
Capito was favorable to privatization proposals from her first campaign for Congress in 2000 through most of President George W. Bush's first administration.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com io 304-348-5164.