House Dems go to bat for Social Security Administration

The House measure to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2011, which passed in February, cut SSA funding $125 million from fiscal 2010 levels.

In a statement, Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, called the letter a "silly – and inaccurate - scaremongering about a about a one percent cut."

"The Democrats who run Washington should start focusing on the real priority: saving Social Security for future retirees, which they have totally punted on," Steel added.

A Democratic alternative to the House measure would have added funding to the administration, but neither proposal passed the Senate. The House passed a three-week funding bill on Tuesday, legislation that would give policymakers more time to hash out spending for the rest of the fiscal year.

At a hearing earlier this month, the head of the SSA told a Senate panel that the House cuts would impede his agency’s progress and that the administration needed all of the roughly $12 billion that President Obama requested for it in fiscal 2011 to battle backlogs in paying out disability benefits.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) countered at the hearing that the SSA had caused some of its own problems by using stimulus funds to add staff instead of making its application process more efficient.

The House Democrats’ letter comes as progressives in both chambers of Congress are trying to protect Social Security, arguing that the entitlement program has not added to the country’s fiscal problems. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Anthony Weiner are among those pushing legislation that would force supermajorities in both chambers to approve changes to Social Security.