Senate Democrats

REID, BAUCUS CONTINUE FIGHT TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY, PREVENT PRIVATIZATION

Washington, D.C.–Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Max Baucus of Montana today called on President George W. Bush to eliminate Social Security privatization from the White House’s post-November agenda.

In a letter, Reid and Baucus, the Finance Committee’s ranking Democrat, reminded the President that the American people have soundly rejected the Administration’s efforts to privatize Social Security, a policy which would result in deep benefit cuts and increased debt. Repeated statements from the administration and the congressional majority have indicated their intention to return to rejected privatization efforts following the November elections.

Today, Reid reiterated his commitment to fight any scheme that would privatize Social Security and jeopardize the benefits American workers have earned.

“Last year the American people made clear that they reject the Social Security privatization scheme,” said Reid. “The President may not have heard them, but I did, so I’ll continue the fight to protect retirement security for the many seniors in Nevada and around the country.”

The text of the Senators’ letter is below:

September 20, 2006

President George W. Bush

The White House

Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our deep concern about your recent statements that you remain committed to privatizing Social Security and will make privatization a top priority after this year’s congressional elections.

We understand that you and most Republicans genuinely believe in privatization and remain strongly committed to pursuing this approach. However, we want to make clear that Democrats are just as adamantly opposed to privatization and remain strongly committed to defeating this seriously misguided proposal. We believe the American people are on our side in this debate, and for good reason.

Cutting Social Security’s funding by diverting payroll taxes into privatized accounts, as you have proposed, would require deep cuts in guaranteed benefits and lead to a massive increase in borrowing. This would weaken Social Security, not strengthen it. The resulting benefit cuts would harm all seniors in the future, even those who prefer not to open a privatized account. Meanwhile, the massive new federal borrowing would weaken our economy, saddle future generations of Americans with trillions of additional debt, and increase our economic dependence on China, Japan and other foreign nations.

Our country faces serious economic problems, including a tightening squeeze on the middle class, rising prices for gas, health care and college, and a troubling long-term budget shortfall. We want to work with you on a bipartisan basis to address these challenges. However, we would strongly resist the privatization of Social Security, which would only make our fiscal problems worse and jeopardize Americans’ retirement security. Therefore, as you develop your agenda for the post-election period, we strongly urge you to reject privatization and instead focus on bipartisan solutions to the most serious problems facing our nation.

Sincerely,

Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

Democratic Leader

Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee

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