Politics

Republicans Target Social Security Disability

FILE - This Feb. 2005 file photo shows trays of printed social security checks, in Philadelphia, waiting to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury. More than 56 million Social Security recipients will see their monthly payments go up by 1.7 percent next year. The increase, which starts in January, is tied to a measure of inflation released Tuesday. It shows that inflation has been relatively low over the past year _ despite the recent surge in gas prices _ resulting in one of the smallest increases in Social Security payments since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.  (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)
This Feb. 2005 file photo shows trays of printed social security checks, in Philadelphia, waiting to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury. (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)

 

(Politico) – Like Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, House Republicans kick-started a bigger fire than many imagined with an opening day rules change that revived Social Security as a hot issue for this Congress — and the 2016 presidential elections.

The GOP’s immediate target is Social Security’s sprawling disability insurance program, which has grown at a pace far beyond its revenues and will exhaust its trust fund reserves by December 2016, threatening a 19 percent cut in benefits.

In the past, Congress has simply shifted revenues from Social Security’s larger retirement account to fill holes in the disability fund. But the new House rule throws up a roadblock by creating a point of order against any such bill that does not improve the “actuarial balance” of the combined funds.

“What we want to do is not kick the can down the road anymore,” said Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), who promoted the change as chairman of the Social Security panel on the House Ways and Means Committee. “The rule is intended to get the Congress to at least take a first step toward solving the Social Security problem. If we continue the way we are, it’s a go-broke operation.”

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