WASHINGTON - Key Senate Republicans are considering gradually raising the Social Security retirement age as high as 69 over several years as they struggle to jump-start legislation that President Bush has placed atop his second-term agenda, officials said Tuesday.
Under current law, the retirement age for full Social Security benefits is 65 1/2 and is scheduled to reach 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
The possible increase to 69 over two decades or more was among the suggestions that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, presented to fellow Republicans on the panel last week as part of an attempt to give the program greater financial solvency, the officials said.
Grassley also suggested steps to hold down benefits for upper-wage earners of the future, these officials have said previously. They spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying the discussions were confidential.