National Leaders Demand Halt to Social Security Budget Cuts
Workers and Beneficiaries in 96 Cities Picket at Social Security Offices to Demand End to Republican Budget Cuts that Would Put Local Economies and Jobs at Risk
(Washington, DC) –U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and other national leaders today demanded a halt to deep budget cuts to the Social Security Administration (SSA) passed by the House of Representatives on February 19. Also today, retirees and SSA employees in 96 cities held informational pickets outside Social Security offices to draw attention to the devastating effects the cuts would have on services. For more information on these actions go here.
House Republicans have cut $1.7 billion from the SSA budget in 2011. That could result in workers being furloughed for up to 1 month over the next 7 months. As a result, Social Security office doors may be temporarily closed, phones will not be answered, and claims processing will grind to a halt. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will be put at risk, and jobs will be cut.
"Social Security did not contribute a single penny to our country's current fiscal mess yet it's being thrown on the chopping block to reduce the federal deficit," said Rep. Xavier Becerra, Ranking Member on the House Social Security Subcommittee." It is time for all Americans to stand up and strengthen this program, not undermine it."
“The cuts proposed by the House Republicans are so severe that Social Security would have to furlough thousands of workers over the next 7 months and drastically reduce services for retirees, disabled workers and their families,” said Witold Skwierczynski, Social Security Administration Union Representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Social Security employees in over 1,300 field offices nationwide. “It's clear that the Republican agenda is to shrink Social Security and other essential services to the point where they can destroy them or privatize them. We can't let them destroy the fabric of American life."
Last week, the Strengthen Social Security Campaign promoted a report, “How the GOP Budget Would Affect Social Security,” which showed the devastating effect of the budget cuts on all states. It was prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, and is based on an analysis prepared by the SSA and the National Council of Social Security Management Associations.
“This is but the latest example of how far Republicans are willing to go to undermine the public's faith in Social Security,” said Eric Kingson, Co-Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. “Social Security is the place where Americans come directly in contact with their government and Americans deserve excellent service to access the benefits they have earned and are due.”
“Most importantly, you need to understand these impacts will not be short-term,” said Barbara Kennelly, President & CEO, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. “The backlogs that will result from starving the agency of this crucial funding could take years to clear out, especially if next year’s funding is also below what SSA needs.”
“These cuts are nothing but cuts for cutting's sake,” said Richard Fiesta, Director of Government and Political Affairs, at the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Social Security does not contribute a penny to our deficit -- both benefits and the cost of running SSA offices are funded by worker and employer contributions.”