Social Security Administration dipping into politics, report says

House Democratic leaders released a report Monday charging the Bush administration with politicizing the Social Security Administration by working with the SSA to alter its message strategy to support Bush's agenda.

The report states that SSA has "markedly changed its communications to the public over the last four years," citing language and message changes in informational brochures, news releases, and a communications presentation provided to employees that have grown increasingly negative on the future of Social Security.

"Although the solvency of the Social Security system has improved over the last four years," the report states, "the public communications from the agency have grown more dire."

The report is based on a review of over 4,000 pages of agency documents from the past decade.

"The Bush administration must stop using the SSA as it tries to scare up support for privatizing Social Security," Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich, said in a statement. "The agency must reassert its independence and promote its goal -- professional, nonpartisan administration of the Social Security programs." At presstime, calls to the agency had not been returned.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, meanwhile, when asked whether President Bush would support new retirement accounts as an add-on to the Social Security system, pointed to Bush's openness to all ideas about changing Social Security, except for raising payroll tax rates.

But McClellan also noted that individuals already have the option of putting their savings into individual retirement accounts, and he reiterated Bush's commitment to his own proposal, which would use payroll taxes to fund retirement accounts.

And Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., launched a pre-emptive strike Monday against a public relations blitz Democrats are planning for next weekend, challenging Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to debate Social Security reform when Reid visits Phoenix as part of a four-state "fly around" planned by the Democratic leader.

In a letter to Reid, Kolbe, who has introduced Social Security legislation with Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., challenges the minority leader to debate the various reform proposals being floated on Capitol Hill, arguing that "is an issue of paramount importance to Americans; and as members of Congress, we have a responsibility to debate our views in public."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.