Social Security Needs a Bipartisan Plan for Modernization
DENVER, CO - Democratic Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette (D-CO) sharply criticized President George W. Bush for grossly distorting the Social Security system's financial health. She urged him to work with Congressional Democrats to develop a bipartisan plan to modernize Social Security for the 21st Century:
"The Social Security system is not in crisis. It is a program that faces challenges that can be overcome if it is modernized for the 21st Century. The only way to do this effectively is by creating a plan that Republicans and Democrats in Congress can support. But to accomplish this, we cannot reduce the debate to overheated rhetoric about phony 'bankruptcies' and non-existent failures. It is irresponsible for any elected official - especially the President of the United States - to scare Americans by so grossly distorting the situation we face.
Social Security is the financial lifeline that has kept millions of American out of poverty. At its essence, it is a national insurance program that protects all of us financially from the uncertainties of life - old age, debilitating illness or loss of a spouse. It has provided Americans a level of economic security that has allowed them to invest, help their families and communities, and live without the fear of retiring into abject poverty.
For almost 70 years, this system has run a surplus. It will continue to do so for at least fourteen years and has enough money in its reserve to provide insurance for the elderly, widowed and infirm until at least 2042.
I am firmly committed to working with Members on both sides of the aisle to modernize this great social insurance program. I hope and trust that President Bush will stop playing politics with our future and start working toward a solution we can all support."