News Release

* Paul Ryan * Holding Social Security Hostage


Politico reports: “Rep. Paul Ryan blasted Speaker John Boehner, Senate leadership and the White House for cutting a budget and debt ceiling deal in secret and without input from lawmakers. ‘I think the process stinks,’ the presumptive speaker said, adding that he hasn’t gone through the details of the agreement, which was released Monday night.” Ryan is expected to become Speaker of the House on Thursday. For a calendar of events, see:

ROBERT KRAIG, robert.kraig at, @rkraig1912
Kraig is executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. He’s written about Ryan in pieces such as “Is there a Wisconsin conservative with the guts to defend Ryan’s budget in public?” and been quoted in articles such as The Atlantic’s “The Cheesehead Mafia: Paul Ryan and the Rise of Wisconsin Republicans.”

See from economist Dean Baker: “Paul Ryan Wants to Shut Down the Government, Permanently,” which states: “In addition to wanting to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, Ryan has indicated that he essentially wants to shut down the federal government in the sense of taking away all of the money for the non-military portion of the budget.”

NANCY ALTMAN, via Lacy Crawford, Jr., lcrawford at, @SSWorks
Politico reports: “Bush follows Paul Ryan on Medicare overhaul: Plan would drastically reshape the safety net for seniors.”

President of Social Security Works, Altman said today: “Last night, the Republican leadership agreed to release their hostages: the need to raise the debt limit, the need to keep the government operating, and the need to ensure that all Social Security benefits can continue to be paid in full and on time beyond 2016. When hostage takers release their hostages, we are, of course, relieved that the hostages are no longer in harm’s way, but this is nothing to celebrate. That the ransom isn’t steeper is also not something to celebrate.

“Among the ransom is a diversion of Social Security resources towards virtually nonexistent fraud. Those provisions will likely require workers with disabilities to wait longer to receive their earned benefits and may prevent some from receiving their earned benefits completely. That is wrong. The legislation has some good provisions, along with the ransom. It does ensure that Medicare beneficiaries will not experience drastically large premium increases. It also closes a loophole that was introduced in the law relatively recently that allows wealthier Americans to game the system by claiming extra benefits inconsistent with the goals of the program. Though some provisions are positive, Social Security legislation, as a matter of principle, should go through regular order, in the light of day.

“If that were done, Social Security would be expanded. As the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize, Social Security’s one shortcoming is that its benefits are too low. Congress should follow the will of the people by expanding those modest but vital benefits and restore the program to long range actuarial balance by requiring the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.”