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House Democrats Speak Out on Social Security & Disability

Reps. Langevin and Owens Statement on Social Security and the Disability Community

January 27, 2005

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Rep. James Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Democratic Co-Chairs of the bipartisan House Disability Caucus, issued the following statement on the failure of the Bush Administration to answer critical questions on how their plan to privatize Social Security will affect Americans with disabilities.

"Over the past two weeks, the President has held at least four public meetings, delivered a radio address, and held a town hall event to discuss his plan to radically overhaul Social Security. Senior Administration officials, including Vice President Cheney, also held events on the Administration's proposals. But not one word was said about how this plan would affect people with disabilities.

"Now, news reports indicate that Republicans are preparing to launch an unprecedented media campaign in support of their plan to privatize Social Security. As the President prepares to 'take his case to the people', we once again urge him to explain to us how his privatization plan will affect people with disabilities.

"Under the Republican plan, what will happen to workers who become disabled before they retire? Will these workers be allowed to draw on the savings in their retirement accounts? Will their guaranteed benefits be increased to make up for the fact that their personal accounts are likely to be smaller, since they have fewer years in the workforce?

"People with disabilities have a major stake in Social Security reform. To date, Republican proposals on Social Security have focused on drastic benefit cuts, trillions of dollars in new debt, and the false promise of privatization. They are a recipe for disaster.

"Until Republicans can explain how their privatization proposals will protect, not undermine, the Social Security benefits that are critical to the independence of people with disabilities, they do not have any hope of gaining bipartisan support."

Mike Guilfoyle (Langevin) 401-732-9400
Maria Cuprill (Owens) 202-225-6231