House Focuses On Social Security
by Guest Blogger
May 12, 2005
Bill Thomas (R-CA) and the Ways and Means Committee kicked off the first of many committee hearings on Social Security today. The Committee will hear from a number of witnesses, including senior fellow Jason Furman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute; Michael Tanner, director of the Cato Institute's Project on Social Security Choice; Robert Pozen, and former economic advisor to President Bush, Lawrence Lindsey. The Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, which is chaired by Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA), will hold the next hearing on May 17th.
House Reps remain split on how to proceed with Social Security legislation. Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), said yesterday, "Let's get on with it. Let the House lead on Social Security reform. If the House goes first, we will produce a reform that is consistent with the President's vision for a 21st Century public retirement system." A number of other House members remain skeptical however, raising concerns that it may be risky to pass legislation without knowing it would have Senate support.
Thomas met last night with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) one-on-one to discuss his ideas for shoring up Social Security. Nelson noted Thomas is promoting "fundamental changes that [are] broader than Social Security." Thomas discussed some specifics regarding his ideas in an April 29 press conference. A recent CBPP report discusses the details mentioned by Thomas, and highlights the fact that Thomas may be looking to use Social Security legislation as a means to push for more tax breaks for the wealthy. The report can be read here.