Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

House Democrats Push For Open Debate on Social Security Reform

June 19, 2002


Washington, D.C. -- House Democrats today introduced a discharge petition to call for an open debate on Social Security reform, due to the Republican Leadership’s reluctance to debate how best to secure the future of Social Security. House Democrats have introduced five bills, which reflect Republican plans to privatize Social Security, and are seeking enough signatures to bring the bills to the House floor. The following is a statement by House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

“Let’s make one thing clear: we are offering this discharge petition because the Republican Leadership refuses to discuss Social Security Reform in the light of day. Our Republican colleagues insist that private accounts are the only way to save Social Security.

But they refuse to hold hearings or mark up their proposals to let the American people know how they plan to save Social Security. And they refuse to bring their plans to the House floor for debate.

This is what they did last month when they wanted to secretly raise the debt limit and raid the Social Security Trust Fund.

And when we objected, here is what the Republican Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Thomas, said: ‘Can you imagine what the procedure would be on the floor of the House if each and every item had to be voted on? Because if you did not vote on it, then you are hiding it behind another item?’

Yes, I can imagine would the procedure would be: it would be called democracy.

But the Republican majority does not want the American people to know, before the 2002 elections, that their plan to privatize Social Security would increase the age of retirement. They don’t want voters to know to know the enormous cost of diverting resources to private accounts.

They want to hide the fact that they are proposing cuts in guaranteed benefits, and reductions in disability and survivor benefits. We believe it is unfair to scuttle a debate that will affect every American until after the election.

The public deserves to know the whole story now.

And this is why this morning, right now, we Democrats are headed to the House floor to sign this discharge petition, fight for retirement security, fight for Social Security reform, and to force an honest debate on this critical issue.”

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