On day one of the Republican-controlled 114th Congress, the House of Representatives has already taken aim at cutting American benefits, reported The Huffington Post. However, only a handful of Democrats have been vocal enough about it.
On Tuesday, the House passed a bill “laying out the parliamentary rules” for 2015. Republicans quietly slipped a provision into that bill which prevents shifting Social Security funds from the retirement program to the disability program, an unremarkable shift that has been common since the 1950s.
This GOP-backed provision is harmful to disabled Americans because without shifting funds, a shortfall in the Social Security disability program will occur by 2016. This shortfall is projected to cause a 20 percent decrease in benefits for 11 million recipients.
Leading GOP supporter of the damaging bill, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), is the chairman of the Social Security subcommittee. According to Johnson, shifting Social Security funds would be a “raid” on retirement. However, the retirement program is solvent for the next 18 years.
“To address this issue, my measure creates a point-of-order to prohibit any diversion of funds from the retirement program to the disability program,” said Johnson. “But more than that, the rule seeks to encourage much-needed reform.”
Johnson’s measure is egregious and steals money from people who rely on it to maintain a just livable lifestyle.
The secret provision has drawn the ire of Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (OH) and Elizabeth Warren (MA). Brown argues that the same practice of shifting funds from retirement to disability is routine and never caused past harm.
“Reallocation has never been controversial, but detractors working to privatize Social Security will do anything to manufacture a crisis out of a routine administrative function,” said Brown.
Warren said on Twitter that “The GOP is inventing a Social Security crisis that will threaten benefits for millions & put our most vulnerable at risk.”
With the exception of these two, notable Democratic senators, there’s been little outcry about the rope-a-dope provision that the Republicans snuck into Tuesday’s bill. They obviously knew it would cause large opposition for the Dems, so they kept it quiet. Republicans need to quit robbing Americans, and Democrats need a backbone.