Republicans Launch Attack On Social Security, Putting Disability Funds At Risk

| by Edward Arnold

On the first day of Congress, Republicans angered Democrats over a procedural rule that will not allow Congress to reallocate funds from Social Security.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) writes on Twitter, “The GOP is inventing a Social Security crisis that will threaten benefits for millions and put our most vulnerable at risk.”

The Democrats are roaring because the disability insurance trust fund is expected to run out of money next year, leaving nearly 11 million Americans with a 20 percent benefit reduction, reports The Huffington Post.

To fix this problem, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recommended that Congress reallocate payroll tax revenues from the retirement program to the disability program. It projects both will be solvent until 2033.

But the Republicans have not taken that route. Instead, by letting the disability fund run dry, Republicans will have to reform Social Security or else they will have turned their backs on the disabled.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), chairman of the subcommittee that reviews Social Security, thinks the procedural rule will encourage reform.

"To address this issue, my measure creates a point-of-order to prohibit any diversion of funds from the retirement program to the disability program," he said. "But more than that, the rule seeks to encourage much-needed reform.”

Hopefully he is right. The new majority could have simply reallocated the money as it has been done 11 times since 1968. Instead, the Republicans are taking the risk of cutting disability insurance to encourage reform.

The Los Angeles Times writes that previous reallocations have helped in the short term but are the reason the fund is running out again.

While the rule initially looks to create a crisis, it could push for what is needed most: social security reform that will prevent these funds from running dry.

Sources: The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons