Friday, February 18, 2005

 

Voinovich to White House: Senate not ready to deep-six Social Security

From the Chicago Tribune:
Following House Speaker Dennis Hastert's lead, key Republican senators said Tuesday that significantly more work is needed to persuade the public before Congress can pass sweeping changes to the Social Security program.

"It's going to require just a tremendous education effort," said Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, part of a group of senators meeting to discuss possible approaches to shoring up the long-term fiscal health of the retirement program. "I don't think a lot of senators really understand the program yet."

During an interview with the Chicago Tribune last week, Hastert praised President Bush for his campaign to persuade voters of the need for personal accounts through Social Security. But Hastert also said the public would not support legislative changes until it believes there is a crisis, saying, "You can't jam change down the American people's throat."

In the Senate, lawmakers seemed to be echoing Hastert as they urged caution before tinkering with seniors' retirement benefits under the 70-year-old Social Security system.

[. . . ]

Snowe, Collins, Hagel and Voinovich have all shown a willingness to break from Bush's positions in the past. In the upper chamber, where each senator has the ability to stall legislation, such sentiments could have significant impact.

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