Published on
by

Jayapal Calls on Biden to Fire Trump Social Security Holdovers for 'Appalling' Relief Check Sabotage

"The American people should be able to trust that the senior leadership of the Social Security Administration will advocate on their behalf—not needlessly and cruelly obstruct the delivery of survival checks."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 28, 2020.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 28, 2020. (Photo: Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, added her name Monday to the growing list of lawmakers and advocacy groups calling on President Joe Biden to fire two Trump-appointed Social Security Administration officials for allegedly sabotaging the effort to deliver relief payments to millions of seniors and people with disabilities.

In a statement, Jayapal (D-Wash.) said it is "appalling and outrageous" that SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black "have delayed the delivery of survival checks to 30 million Americans."

"In delaying these payments, Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black have shown a profound contempt for the American people and are unfit to continue to serve in their roles at the Social Security Administration."
—Rep. Pramila Jayapal

"This is not a game—for millions of people, these checks are a lifeline to put food on the table, refill prescriptions, and put gas in the car," Jayapal added.

As Common Dreams reported last week, the Internal Revenue Service asked SSA to send over key payment information two weeks before the March 11 approval of the latest round of direct relief payments in an effort to ensure Social Security recipients would receive their checks in a timely manner.

But SSA inexplicably failed to provide the information until March 25, significantly delaying the process of distributing the payments to struggling retirees. In a statement that same day, Saul attempted to blame Congress for the hold-up and suggested that anyone criticizing the agency over the delay is casting aspersions on rank-and-file SSA staffers—many of whom have themselves voiced disapproval of Saul and Black's leadership.

The IRS has yet to offer an update on when Social Security beneficiaries can expect to receive their relief payments.

"In delaying these payments, Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black have shown a profound contempt for the American people and are unfit to continue to serve in their roles at the Social Security Administration," Jayapal said Monday.

"The American people should be able to trust that the senior leadership of the Social Security Administration will advocate on their behalf—not needlessly and cruelly obstruct the delivery of survival checks," the Washington Democrat continued. "Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black should be removed from their positions immediately."

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-Supported

No advertising. No paywalls. No selling your data. Common Dreams needs your help. Without support from our readers, we simply don't exist. Please, select a donation method and stand with us today.



Progressives have made clear that Saul and Black's handling of the relief payment information is just one of many reasons they are pressuring Biden to remove the two officials, both of whom were at the center of the Trump administration's yearslong assault on Social Security.

Social Security Works, a progressive advocacy group that has been urging Biden to terminate the SSA leaders for months, argues (pdf) that the president has the authority to unilaterally remove Saul and Black. The two officials' six-year terms aren't set to expire until 2025.

In an op-ed for Common Dreams on Monday, Social Security Works executive director Alex Lawson wrote that "it's unclear if Saul and Black delayed the survival checks in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the Biden administration, or if they are just extremely incompetent."

"But their record shows that they deserve zero benefit of the doubt," Lawson continued. "For years, Saul and Black have worked to cut Social Security benefits and union-bust the agency's workforce. They want to make it harder to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, and easier to take them away. According to a whistleblower report, they threatened to fire judges for approving too many disability claims—which is illegal."

"President Biden, it's long past time," Lawson added. "Fire Andrew Saul and David Black immediately."

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Share This Article