In Letter, House Dems Tell Obama To Leave Social Security Alone

Dennis Brack/Newscom

House Democrats just sent a letter to President Obama warning him not to cut Social Security as part of the deficit reduction program he’ll outline Wednesday, or risk losing their support.

“As you know, 137 members of the United States Congress signed a letter last year opposing any cuts to Social Security Benefits, including raising the retirement age,” write Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), in a letter obtained by TPM.

“The signatories also stated their opposition to any effort to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part… we believe that any discussion of long-term debt issues must consider the strong fiscal integrity of Social Security–which is prohibited by law from adding to the national budget deficit and will have built a $4.3 trillion surplus by 2023.”

[W]e remain concerned that the Bowles-Simpson proposal may serve as a starting point for budget negotiations. We consider this plan to be flawed in several key areas, especially with respect to its proposed cuts to Social Security Benefits. We believe that any proposal that includes cuts to a popular, fiscally sound program lacks credibility and does not reflect the political center.

There’s been some reporting — and plenty of speculation — about what President Obama will say on Wednesday, much of which has centered around the idea that he’ll nod to the Bowles-Simpson recommendations as a better starting point for debating fiscal issues than the House GOP budget.

House Democrats’ top budget guy Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) embraced that view in a presentation today, however he also said he believes Social Security should be addressed separately from the broader budget dispute.

Read the whole letter here.


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at