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Chairman Johnson Announces Hearing on the 2012 Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees

Press Release

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Date:
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U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security announced today that the Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing on the findings in the 2012 Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees. The hearing will take place on Thursday, June 21, 2012 in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. A list of invited witnesses will follow.

BACKGROUND:

The Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds was established under the Social Security Act to oversee the financial operations of the OASDI Trust Funds. The Board is comprised of six members, four of whom serve by virtue of their positions in the Federal Government (the Secretary of the Treasury (who also serves as Managing Trustee), the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Commissioner of Social Security) and two members of the public who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Deputy Commissioner of Social Security Administration serves as Secretary of the Board.

The Social Security Act requires that the Board, among other duties, report annually to the Congress on the financial status of the OASI and DI Trust Funds. The overview section of the 2012 report concluded, "Under the long-range intermediate assumptions, annual cost for the OASDI program is projected to exceed non-interest income in 2012 and remain higher through the remainder of the long-range period. The combined OASI and DI Trust Funds are expected to increase through 2020, and then to decline and become exhausted and unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2033. However, the DI Trust Fund becomes exhausted in 2016, so legislative action is needed as soon as possible."

In the absence of intervening Congressional action or changes in projections, the Trustees project that incoming Social Security revenues would be sufficient to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits starting in 2033 and over the rest of the 75-year period.

In their "Message from the Public Trustees," the Public Trustees concluded that Social Security's finances had deteriorated primarily because of a weak economy and higher-than-expected inflation. They said, "[t]he Social Security outlook has worsened significantly relative to last year's report. The actuarial deficit in its combined trust funds is now 2.67 percent of taxable payroll, the highest recorded since the last major Social Security financing reforms roughly three decades ago." They also said, "While there is no way to know what mixture of additional revenue and restraints on benefit growth will prove to be the most palatable means of strengthening Social Security's financial position, lawmakers should be aware that it will become increasingly difficult to avoid adverse effects on current beneficiaries, those close to retirement, and low-income beneficiaries in all birth cohorts if legislative actions are delayed much further."

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) stated, "Americans have long known that without change, Social Security will be unable to keep its promises to the hard-working taxpayers who pay into the system. According to this year's report, not only is Social Security's outlook worse, it is clear that the longer we wait the harder it will be to protect benefits for those who rely on them most. I hope this hearing will help lead us to find commonsense solutions to secure Social Security's future."

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

The hearing will focus on the findings in the recently released 2012 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the OASDI Trust Funds, the effect of the trust funds' current cash flow deficit status and future exhaustion, and the cost of delaying actions to address Social Security's fiscal challenges for workers and beneficiaries.

DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:

Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select "Hearings." Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, "Click here to provide a submission for the record." Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word or WordPerfect document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Thursday, July 5, 2012. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS:

The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word or WordPerfect format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.


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