Rep. Jody Arrington (R-TX) chairs the House Budget Committee

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is tremendously disappointed in the House Budget Committee’s vote to favorably report the Fiscal Commission Act of 2023 out of committee.  This is the final step in the legislative process before the bill comes to the House floor for a vote.

“A fiscal commission is designed to give individual members of Congress political cover for cutting Americans’ earned benefits. Any changes to Social Security and Medicare should go through regular order and not be relegated to a commission unaccountable to the public and rushed through the Congress. This bill should be opposed by any member of Congress who cares about Social Security, Medicare, and the constituents who depend on them. – Max Richtman, president and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare 

This bill is designed to rush the Commission’s recommendations, which would inevitably prioritize deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare, through Congress so they can be enacted before the American people have a chance to study them and understand how they would be affected.  The bill’s goal of avoiding political accountability is made clear as H.R. 5779 prohibits the issuance of the Commission’s recommendations prior to election day and provides that the ensuing legislation would come to the floor during the lame-duck Congress. In this scenario, representatives who are leaving Congress at the end of the year could vote to cut American’s earned benefits — without having to face voters again.

NCPSSM believes that Social Security and Medicare should be reformed.  But the process must be deliberative and fully accessible to the public.  The committees with jurisdiction over Social Security and Medicare should hold hearings, develop legislation that improves – not cuts – benefits. The future of these critical programs must not and should not be determined as part of a budget cutting exercise.

Members of Congress should understand that fiscal commissions that force changes to Americans’ hard-earned benefits will – and should not – fool the voters. President Biden has rightly called such commissions “death panels” for Social Security and Medicare. We urge all House members who claim to champion these vital programs for seniors to reject the Fiscal Commission Act.