A Senate committee is about to take up the subject of Social Security, and Republicans are signalling that legislation might not have to include private accounts. They're not looking for additional details from Bush, either.
In a briefing arranged by Republican staff on the committee and given to 60 reporters yesterday, a committee official involved in the Social Security discussions also said the legislation will move through the committee in June or July. The briefing was given on the condition that the official, who is an aide to Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), would not be named and that his remarks would not be directly quoted.
The official's account, given in preparation for today's hearing on various Social Security proposals, appeared to soften many of the statements Grassley had previously made. Earlier this month, Grassley said that he would like to see "principles and alternatives" from the White House such as reducing benefits, raising the retirement age or raising the cap on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes.
The problem is that Republicans cannot be trusted on this issue. For example, the Senate could pass a bill that does not include private accounts, while the House version does; they could be included in the conference that resolves conflicts between the two versions, making it arguable harder for Democrats to oppose them.
No, I don't want this Congress touching Social Security. I'll wait and see what the next one looks like, thanks. We have time.