Chris Lange, FISM News
Tempers flared during yesterday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing when a Republican Senator called Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s assertion that President Biden was ready to work with Congress on Social Security “a lie.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) pressed Yellen about whether any of the funds from Biden’s proposed tax hikes, which the White House claimed will generate close to $3 trillion, would be used to extend the solvency of the Social Security program, which is anticipated to run out of money by 2037. The Louisiana Republican specifically asked if Biden was aware that “when [Social Security] goes broke in nine years,” there would be a 24% cut in benefits for current recipients.
Yellen said she believed that was “about right.”
Cassidy then asked for Yellen’s assessment of the president’s commitment to work with Congress to protect seniors’ Social Security benefits. Yellen responded that Biden “stands ready to work with Congress.”
“That’s a lie,” Cassidy interrupted, “because a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly requested to meet with him about Social [Security] so that somebody who is a current beneficiary will not see her benefits cut by 24%.” Cassidy said the group had “not heard anything on our request, and we made multiple requests to meet with the president.”
He continued: “Now you can’t comment on that, I realize that, but that is a fact, and if you’ve been told that he stands ready to meet, there’s absolutely no evidence because we have not gotten our meeting.”
The “lie” remark prompted an admonition from Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
“My colleague is out of time, and I would just caution colleagues — we’ve got plenty of differences around here, but accusing witnesses of lying is over the line,” Wyden said.
Cassidy denied the accusation, acknowledging that Secretary Yellen was only repeating what she had been told.
“I’m saying that for an empiric observation, when the president says he’s ready to meet, that he’s turned [us] down multiple times,” he added.
“The time of the gentleman’s expired, accusing witnesses of lying is over the line,” Wyden responded.
Entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, have figured largely in the ongoing feud between Republicans and Democrats over raising the debt ceiling, which was technically reached on Jan. 19, 2023. President Biden has accused Republicans of planning to cut the programs with their demands for budget cuts, while the GOP contends that Social Security and Medicare are “off the table” in discussions.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last month predicting that, by 2033, the federal Social Security program would be paying out more money than it received.
The report stated that “if the gap between the trust funds’ outlays and income occurs as CBO projects, then the balance in the trust funds will decline to zero in 2033 and the Social Security Administration will no longer be able to pay full benefits when they are due.”
This article was partially informed by The Daily Caller, Fox News, and Forbes reports.