Ranking Committee Member Brendan Boyle (D-PA)

Republicans and Democrats clearly had different takeaways from the recent Social Security Trustees report — judging from a House Budget Committee hearing held last week — and vastly different proposals for the future of the program.  

 The Social Security Trustees projected last May that reserves in the program’s combined trust fund will become depleted in 2035 without action from Congress. At that time, the program still could pay 83% of scheduled benefits.  

 The House Budget Committee chairman, Jodey Arrington (R-TX), declared the “fiscal health” of Social Security “unsustainable.” Republicans on the committee made it clear that their preferred solution is to cut benefits, if not for current retirees, then for future generations — mainly by raising the Social Security retirement age from 67 or 70.  Ranking Member Brendan Boyle (D-PA) said that raising the age would cut benefits for 3 in 4 (or over 250 million) Americans.  

Republicans and Democrats say they want to avoid a “food fight” on Social Security

Republicans continued to try to blame Social Security for the nation’s mounting debt, although, as committee Democrats pointed out, the program does not contribute to the debt because it is fully self-funded and separate from general revenue. “They are conflating debt and deficits with Social Security’s trust fund solvency. Those are entirely separate issues,” said ranking Democrat Brendan Boyle (D-PA). 

The House Republicans’ 2025 budget calls for the creation of a fiscal commission that likely would recommend cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Moderate committee Democrats Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) also expressed support for a fiscal commission.  Many Democrats and seniors’ advocates oppose the idea of outsourcing such crucial policy decisions to a special commission.  As NCPSSM president Max Richtman has pointed out, “A fiscal commission would give individual members of Congress political cover to cut benefits.”  

Democrats on the committee insisted that Social Security must be financially strengthened, and benefits expanded, not cut. That is exactly what legislation from Rep. John Larson, Senator Bernie Sanders, and other members of Congress would do.  Their bills would increase revenue by adjusting the payroll wage cap, requiring high income earners to contribute their fair share to Social Security.  

 Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said that Social Security beneficiaries must be protected from cuts. “This is not an entitlement program,” she said, “These are people who have paid every paycheck to this earned benefit.”  

Congressman Boyle pledged: “I am going to do everything I can to make sure Social Security and Medicare will be there, not just for my father, not just for myself, but for generations to come.”  

 Despite the two parties’ divergent stances, Chairman Arrington and Ranking Member Boyle expressed a desire to find common ground and avoid some of the political “food fights” typical of other House committees.  


Committee leadership welcomed recently elected New York Congressman Tom Suozzi, who was endorsed by our organization in his successful bid to replace Rep. George Santos.  

For more info on Democrats’ push to preserve these programs, listen here to our podcast with Congressman John Larson.