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Women and Social Security Alert No. 27

April 2010; News on National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Congressional Budget Office, and the NY Times calls Social Security "The Next big Issue."

ITEMS IN THIS ALERT

In the News

  • Members of Congress Named to Serve on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
  • Congressional Budget Office Reports Social Security Benefits to Exceed Payroll Tax Collection
  • The New York Times Identifies Social Security as "The Next Big Issue"
  • First Meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to Be Held on April 27 in Washington, DC

IN THE NEWS

Members of Congress Named to Serve on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

In February, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) named his appointees to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that was created through President Obama's Executive Order. In March, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also named their appointees. The Commission consists of 18 members including 6 members appointed by the President (no more than 4 of can be of the same party), three members appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, 3 members appointed by the Speaker of the House, 3 members appointed by the Senate Minority Leader, and 3 members appointed by the House Minority Leader. In February, President Obama appointed Co-Chairs Erskine Bowles, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff, and Alan Simpson, former Republican Senate Whip and appointees David Cote, Chairman, CEO, and President of Honeywell, Ann Fudge, Chair and CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands, Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and visiting professor at Georgetown University, and Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union to serve on the Commission.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed:

 

  • Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). Senator Baucus is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). Senator Conrad, along with Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), proposed the bi-partisan deficit commission that led to the creation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He serves as the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Senator Durbin is the Majority Whip and he serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed:

 

  • Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA). Representative Becerra is Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Representative Schakowsky is the Democratic Vice Chair of the Women's Caucus.
  • Representative John Spratt (D-SC). Representative Spratt is the Chair of the House Budget Committee.

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed:

 

  • Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Senator Coburn is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID). Senator Crapo is a member of the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
  • Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH). Senator Gregg, along with Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), proposed the bi-partisan deficit commission that led to the creation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He serves as the Ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

 

House Minority Leader John Boehner appointed:

 

  • Representative David Camp (R-MI). Representative Camp is the Senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Representative Hensarling is the Ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
  • Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). Representative Ryan is the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee.

 

Congressional Budget Office Reports Social Security Benefits to Exceed Payouts

In March, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the Social Security system will pay out $29 billion more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes. While much of the media coverage has used the report to claim the Social Security system is in crisis, experts believe that it proves the Social Security system works. Despite the recession which is reducing current payroll tax receipts, the shortfall will not lead to a reduction in benefits in 2010 because the Social Security Trust Fund provides reserve funding that allows benefits to continue to be paid. Moreover, the Trust Fund is not even shrinking because it continues to earn interest and to receive income tax receipts - it is expected to continue to grow through at least 2020. According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security will not exhaust this trust fund, meaning Social Security beneficiaries will continue to receive full, current-law benefits for at least the next 27 years. Social Security experts also note that the $29 billion shortfall is quite small compared to the roughly $1.3 trillion Social Security Trust Fund. For more information on the CBO's projections, please see: http://www.cbo.gov/budget/factsheets/2010b/OASDI-TrustFunds.pdf. For a clarification from the Economic Policy Institute, please see: http://www.epi.org/analysis_and_opinion/entry/fact_check_has_social_security_begun_tapping_its_trust_funds/.

 

The New York Times Identifies Social Security as "The Next Big Issue"

On March 22, The New York Times identified Social Security as the next big issue facing President Obama and Congressional Democrats following healthcare reform. According to the article, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is expected to consider entitlement spending as part of its efforts to reduce the federal deficit. Since healthcare reform already includes reductions in Medicare spending and expansions to Medicaid, the Times argues that Social Security is the only entitlement program left to consider. To read the full article, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/us/politics/23fiscal.html?pagewanted=print.

Groups such as OWL, who maintains the Social Security Matters website (www.socialsecuritymatters.org), Social Security Works (http://socialsecurity-works.org/), the Older Women's Economic Security (OWES) Task Force of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) (http://www.womensorganizations.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=63), and the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (http://www.lcao.org/) are working to oppose future reductions in Social Security benefits.

 

First Meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to Be Held on April 27

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Tuesday, April 27, from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM in Washington, DC. For more information about the Commission's first meeting, check back with the websites mentioned above.

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