(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, in reaction to nearly every Republican member of the House of Representatives, as well as seven Democrats, voting for a Constitutional amendment requiring that all annual revenue and spending balance every year. The amendment failed to attain the two-thirds majority required to pass it into law:
“Every pay period, starting with our first jobs, America’s workers contribute to Social Security. The program uses those funds to pay all benefits and related administrative costs. Social Security does not add even a penny to the deficit, as Republican President Ronald Reagan so clearly stated when he was president.
When Social Security runs a surplus, Social Security holds the funds in trust. Social Security currently has a $2.9 trillion accumulated surplus, which was intentionally built up over decades to cover the retirement of the Baby Boom generation. In the guise of a so-called balanced budget amendment, 233 members of the House of Representatives just voted to pretend that the accumulated surplus does not exist.
That’s because the so-called Balanced Budget Amendment would ignore the past Social Security contributions and instead require all federal spending – including Social Security spending – to be offset by revenues collected in that same year. That means that Social Security would not be allowed to use its own $2.9 trillion surplus to pay out benefits.
By voting to mandate that income and outgo match for all federal spending every year, ninety-seven percent of Republicans just voted in effect, to default on Social Security’s $2.9 trillion worth of Treasury bonds. (Ninety-six percent of Democrats voted to honor their commitment to the American people.)
That 233 politicians would vote to raid the Social Security trust funds, never to repay them, is shameful. It helps explain the low regard the American people have for Congress. Fortunately for Social Security beneficiaries, the amendment did not attain the two-thirds majority required to pass the House. But those who voted for it are now on the record in support of stealing the American people’s earned Social Security benefits.”