Campaign 2010

Sep 07, 2006

Pro-Privatization Stance Haunts GOP in 2006

DCCC Press

Sep 7, 2006

Pro-Privatization Stance Haunts GOP in 2006

Republicans Pledge to Bring Back Social Security Privatization in 2007, but the Fight to Protect Social Security is Already Raging in Many Districts Across the Country

(Washington, D.C.) – Top Republicans from George W. Bush to the Republican leadership in Congress have promised to make Social Security privatization a cornerstone of their agenda in 2007. As the campaign season heats up, many Republican incumbents are shifting to make their pro-privatization stances more palatable to voters. Unfortunately for them, they will not be able to run from their record of blindly supporting the failed policies of George Bush and the Republican Congress when it comes to putting Social Security in jeopardy.

“Support for President Bush’s risky plan to privatize Social Security is just one of the ways that Republican incumbents and candidates have made themselves vulnerable going into November’s election,” said Bill Burton, communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Voters will reject the Republican rubber stamp leadership that promises to jeopardize retirement security for millions and choose a new direction to protect Social Security for the future.”

CO-07: An essay written by “top” Republican recruit Rick O’Donnell revealed that he referred to Social Security as “un-American” and advocated “slaying” the program. This year, O’Donnell updated his position as merely support for the privatization of Social Security. Rick O’Donnell in 1995: “As we bury the rest of the welfare state in preparation for the 21st century, it is time to slay the largest government 'entitlement' program of all, Social Security. There is an even more important moral question raised by the government's role as chief provider in old age. It sends the un-American message that it is not your responsibility to take care of yourself.” [Denver Post quoting O’Donnell in 1995, 7/28/06]. The DCCC has already sent out mail pieces on the issue to Colorado voters and have launched the website: to highlight the issue.

FL-13: New GOP nominee Vern Buchanan answered an AARP survey by saying that he supports using Social Security taxes for private accounts, a practice the AARP opposes. [American Association of Retired Persons 2006 Candidate Survey,]

IA-01: With Iowa having the highest percentage of seniors in the nation and Republican Mike Whalen supporting Social Security population, the issue promises to feature prominently as November draws closer. Whalen stands behind George W. Bush in his efforts to privatize Social Security, chaired two Iowa groups dedicated to privatization and is even open to raising Social Security payroll taxes. In 2006, the Associated Press reported Whalen “has been a close ally of President Bush on efforts to reform Social Security.” [Associated Press, 5/3/06; Quad City Times via National Journal’s House Race Hotline, 5/25/06; Telegraph Herald, 4/9/06]

MN-06: Republican candidate Michele Bachmann showed how far out of touch she is with families in her district by favoring the guidelines for privatizing Social Security set out by the Cato Institute. [Star Tribune, 2/21/06 “Sixth District Candidate Profiles”]

OH-15: Deborah Pryce literally wrote the book on privatizing Social Security. Pryce was the co-author of the GOP playbook on how to privatize Social Security: Pryce’s Privatization Playbook: House and Senate Republican Caucus Guidebook on Social Security Labels Privatization “Personalization” and “Reform”: “President Bush Has Set Forth Broad Principles to Guide Reforms.” [Saving Social Security: A Guide to Social Security Reform, Rep. Deborah Pryce, House Republican Caucus and Sen. Rick Santorum, Senate Republican Caucus, January 27, 2005]

PA-07: Curt Weldon has been noticeably silent on the issue of Social Security privatization. His recent silence and vague statements contradict earlier statements in support of privatization. A Delaware County Times editorial points out that Weldon, in a 2000 survey, support privatization, but recently refused to answer questions when pressed for his position. [Delaware County Times, 8/17/2006]

VA-02: After initially promising to preserve Social Security, Republican Thelma Drake changed her position and supports George W. Bush’s privatization proposal. Drake said, “Absolutely yes,” regarding the proposed private accounts. [Daily Press, 2/3/05]

WA-08: Freshman Republican Dave Reichert praised Bush for taking on Social Security privatization. He also told the AARP and the Seattle Times that he favors privatizing Social Security. [AARP, 2004 Candidate Survey; Roll Call, 2/9/05; Seattle Times, 10/22/04]

Privatization is on the March:

House Republican Leader John Boehner: “If I’m around in a leadership role come January, we’re going to get serious about this.” [Washington Times, 7/31/06]

George W. Bush: “Now is the time for the Congress and the President to work together to reform Medicare and reform Social Security…If we can’t get it done this year, I’m going to try next year. And if we can’t get it done next year, I’m going to try the year after that, because it is the right thing to do...Now is the time to solve the problems of Medicare and Social Security, and I want your help… I’d like to put this on your agenda, and let you know the White House and members of the Senate and the House are anxious to deal with this issue and get it done once and for all.” [Bush remarks to Manhattan Institute, 6/27/06]

Karl Rove: “I will point out that no president has made a more concerted or determined effort to reform Social Security, our nation’s largest entitlement. The president encountered enormous resistance to what were bold but practical reforms…But President Bush will continue to keep entitlement reform front and center on the nation’s political agenda.” [Rove remarks to the American Enterprise Institute, 5/15/06]

White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten: “Looking ahead to next year, he is trying to lay the groundwork for a renewed effort to reform Social Security and Medicare, the federal health-care program for seniors.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/17/06]

Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery on the 2007 Agenda: “Looking at the lay of the land politically and substantively, it seems to me the more logical order would be Social Security, then tax reform, then healthcare reform.” [Congress DailyPM, 6/6/06]