Democrats are pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell aims to reassure Dems as shutdown deadline looms Tax reform: Starting place for jobs, growth Senate Democrats dig in as shutdown approaches MORE (R-Ky.) to repudiate a rules change by House Republicans that could cut Social Security disability payments by 20 percent.
House Republicans last week included language in their new rules for the 114th Congress making it more difficult to allocate payroll tax revenues to replenish the Social Security Disability Trust Fund, which is due to run out of money in 2016.
They warned that nearly 11 million Americans could see their benefits cut if Congress does not take action in the next two years.
“House Republicans acted according to their extreme ideology and put these benefits at risk by adopting a legislative rule change that creates a point of order against simple bipartisan technical corrections,” they wrote.
They noted that Congress has reallocated taxes between the Social Security retirement and trust funds 11 times in the past.
It last did so in 1994 without facing any significant opposition from Democrats or Republicans.
The trust funds were rebalanced four times under President Reagan, the Democrats noted.
“It is cynical to try and pit retirees and beneficiaries with disabilities against each other, as the House Republican rule change attempts to do,” they wrote.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinGOP eyes big gamble on ObamaCare Senate Democrats dig in as shutdown approaches Overnight Finance: Senate Dems dig in as shutdown looms | Trump taps fast-food exec for Labor chief | Portland's new CEO tax MORE (Ill.), Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Finance Committee ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (Ore.) signed the letter.
Other signatories included Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders congratulates Carrier union leader after Trump attack Don't look now: Trump is uniting the GOP while Democrats remain divided Sanders: Trump is 'a pathological liar' MORE (Vt.), a liberal independent weighing a presidential bid.
“Holding hostage the Social Security benefits of any American, particularly those of the 9 million Americans with disabilities who are at risk in the coming years, is an untenable proposition,” they wrote. “It only increases the chances of yet another unnecessary manufactured crisis, akin to shutting down the government or threatening the full faith and credit of the United States.”