“We commend President Biden for crafting a debt ceiling deal that averts a catastrophic default, which could have disrupted payment of Social Security benefits to American seniors living on fixed incomes. This deal protects Social Security and Medicare benefits from disruption or outright cuts — and leaves landmark prescription drug reforms for seniors (contained in the Inflation Reduction Act) intact.
We remain concerned about how spending caps in the compromise bill will impact the operating budget of the chronically-underfunded Social Security Administration (SSA), which has struggled to provide beneficiaries with adequate customer service. We urge congressional appropriators to prioritize SSA, which is funded almost entirely from workers’ payroll contributions and has little impact on the federal debt.
Every member of Congress has constituents who rely on SSA to administer their claims and benefits — and cannot withstand the lengthy service delays which have become endemic to the agency. The situation is especially dire for constituents who must wait up to a year for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) hearings. Thousands of workers have passed away awaiting adjudication of their claims.
We also urge appropriators not to cut Older Americans Act programs (including nutrition and home heating assistance) that millions of low-income seniors depend on. In any case, Older Americans Act programs and the SSA would have fared much worse under the House Republicans’ original debt ceiling bill, which would have resulted in 23% across the board cuts in non-defense discretionary spending.
Let’s be clear: the House majority should not have brought the country to the brink of default over budgetary policy differences. Their recklessness needlessly worried seniors that their earned benefits might be cut or disrupted. The debt ceiling deal may be an imperfect solution, but the President operated skillfully under difficult circumstances, and American seniors can be grateful.” – Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.
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Walter Gottlieb 202-216-0420