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Public Statements

Employee Verification Amendment Act of 2008

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


EMPLOYEE VERIFICATION AMENDMENT ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2008)

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Mr. McNULTY. I thank the gentlewoman from California for her kind comments, and also the gentleman from Texas, both of them, for their very hard work on reaching this bipartisan consensus.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill to extend the basic pilot program, also known as E-Verify. I wish to especially thank my friend, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Social Security, Sam Johnson, for his longstanding service to the Nation and for his steadfast support of the effort to protect seniors, people with disabilities, and survivors. Together, we have worked since the start of this Congress to provide needed funding for the Social Security Administration to address unacceptable backlogs in disability hearings and the decline in the service to our constituents. Moreover, we must ensure that SSA is ready for the retirement of the Baby Boom generation.

SSA has struggled to meet an increasing workload despite a decade of underfunding. Congress only recently increased funding to help address the backlog of disability claims, and we are working to continue that trend. It will take sustained adequate funding for SSA to meet the challenges of reducing its backlog while keeping pace with growing workloads.

SSA plays a significant role in the E-Verify pilot program, which is rapidly growing under DHS's direction. There is broad consensus that SSA must be paid for this work. The legislation before us provides essential protections for seniors, people with disabilities, and survivors who need Social Security benefits to meet their daily expenses. It does so by ensuring that DHS and SSA enter into annual agreements that require DHS to pay SSA in full and on a timely basis for its E-Verify related expenses.

I would like to thank our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee who worked with us to include language in this bill to provide for full and timely payment to SSA for its role under the E-Verify program. This is a bipartisan bill, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill to extend the ``basic pilot'' program, also known as ``E-Verify.''

I wish to thank my friend, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Social Security Mr. JOHNSON, for his long-standing service to the Nation and for his steadfast support of the effort to protect seniors, people with disabilities, and survivors.

Together, we have worked since the start of this Congress to provide needed funding for the Social Security Administration to address unacceptable backlogs in disability hearings and the decline in service to our constituents. Moreover, we must ensure SSA is ready for the retirement of the Baby Boom generation.

SSA has struggled to meet an increasing workload despite a decade of underfunding. Congress only recently increased funding to help address the backlog of disability claims, and we are working to continue that trend. It will take sustained adequate funding for SSA to meet the challenge of reducing its backlog while keeping pace with growing workloads.

In light of these difficulties, we have been concerned about whether SSA has been provided the necessary resources by DHS to meet its rapidly growing workload under the E-Verify program.

I thank our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, who worked tirelessly with us to include language in this bill to provide for full and timely payment to SSA for its role under the E-Verify program.

The Social Security Act prohibits the use of Social Security program funds for non-program related purposes. Therefore, SSA executes reimbursement agreements with other agencies whenever SSA performs work on their behalf.

SSA plays a significant role in the E-Verify pilot program. Every query made by the system is run through SSA data and systems first. Every time there is a mismatch between the information sent via E-Verify and the SSA database, employees are told to contact SSA. Many must visit SSA field offices to show necessary proof of identity or work-authorization.

For this work, DHS is required to reimburse SSA. Yet the reimbursements have not always been made in a timely way. For example, the reimbursement for FY2006 was finally agreed upon within the last few weeks. Consequently, SSA has been forced to pay for the work using scarce Social Security administrative dollars, which are meant to be used to serve Social Security program participants.

At the same time, E-Verify is growing as some States and the Administration require more employers to enroll in the system.

The legislation before us provides essential protections for seniors, people with disabilities and survivors who need Social Security benefits to meet their daily expenses. It does so by ensuring that DHS and SSA enter into annual agreements that require DHS to pay SSA, in full and on a timely basis, for its E-Verify related expenses.

It also includes an important GAO study on erroneous tentative non-confirmations by the E-Verify system that are the primary cause of SSA's expenses. I am confident that the results of this study will help Congress improve the program in the next few years before it is expanded any further.

I support this bipartisan bill and urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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