WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a hearing of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, defended the Social Security program and opposed the reappointment of Dr. Charles Blahous to serve as a public trustee of the Social Security Trust Funds. Brown called on Committee leadership to hold a vote in Committee and not to use Blahous’ status as a “privileged nominee” to send his nomination straight to the floor.
Trustees are tasked with the critical responsibility of reporting annually to Congress on the financial status of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds and acting in the best interest of both current participants, retired beneficiaries, and beneficiaries with disabilities. In public statements since becoming a public trustee, Blahous has undermined Social Security by promoting a political agenda outside of the purview of the Board. An individual with an agenda to dismantle Social Security should not also be in the position of representing Social Security recipients and their interests.
“We should be working to expand and strengthen Social Security, not putting someone in a position of public trust who helped write the blueprint for privatizing Social Security and collects a paycheck promoting plans to cut benefits,” said Brown.
Blahous served as the executive director of President Bush’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, which proposed partial privatization of the program. Since then, while serving as a Trustee, he has made a number of public statements indicating that he would be willing to make cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; raise the retirement age; and allow seniors and Americans with disabilities to go without a cost of living adjustment (COLA). He also indicated support for a House of Representatives rule change that would pit the needs of retirees and beneficiaries with disabilities against each other. Most troubling is the fact that Blahous’ job as a senior fellow at the Mercatus Center – where he has been identified as a public trustee – involves his writing partisan reports questioning the integrity of Social Security’s structure.
Brown is leading the effort to ensure American workers and families have access to affordable savings and investment options. As ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, Brown has used his committee platforms to advocate for strengthening Social Security and improving the private retirement savings system for all Americans.