The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Linda Benesch,,

Sanders, Casey & Warren Headline Press Conference Opposing GOP Plans to Cut $492 Million From the Social Security Administration's Budget

Seniors and Activists Delivered Over 250,000 Petition Signatures to Mitch McConnell.


Today, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined seniors and activists for a press conference protesting Republican plans to cut $492 million from the Social Security Administration's budget. The seniors and activists then delivered more than 250,000 petition signatures to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) demanding that Congress fully fund the Social Security Administration.

The petition signatures were collected by CREDO Action, Social Security Works, the Economic Policy Institute, the American Federation of Government Employees, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Since 2011, baby boomers have been retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day, expanding the population that SSA serves. In recent years, the agency has had to close 64 field offices due to budget constraints. The average wait time for a disability hearing decision is a record high 627 days. We need to fully fund the Social Security Administration, not subject it to cuts that make it increasingly difficult for Americans to access their earned benefits.

Video of the event, including the lawmakers' remarks, is available here.

"Since 2010, Congress has cut Social Security's operating budget by 16 percent, and now Republicans want to cut another $492 million. According to a recent Washington Post article, 10,000 people died in the past year waiting for a decision on Social Security disability benefits. This is a national disgrace. We need to provide adequate funding for the Social Security Administration to provide services to seniors and persons with disabilities in a timely manner." - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ranking Member, Senate Budget Committee

"This arbitrary across the board obsession with cutting often leads to dire consequences for real people. If you think the Social Security Administration isn't critically important to delivering Social Security benefits, you probably haven't been paying attention. When you refuse to support increases to the Social Security Administration, you're cutting Social Security. And you're making this country a lesser country than it should be. "

- Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member, Senate Aging Committee

"Without enough funding, it becomes harder and harder for the Social Security Administration to make sure that seniors and people with disabilities receive the Social Security benefits that they are legally entitled to. This country made a promise to every hardworking American: Social Security will be there when you need it. America must honor its promise and that means no cuts to the Social Security budget." - Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

"Republicans like to say that government should be run like a business. Any private business as successful and popular as Social Security would be opening branches, not closing them. If Congressional Republicans simply allowed SSA to spend just another one or two tenths of a percent more of Social Security's large and growing surplus, the agency can provide the exemplary, first-class service for which it has always been known. That's what the American people deserve and in fact, have paid for." - Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works

"Republicans in Congress are desperate to attack and gut Social Security and other earned benefit programs that tens of millions of Americans rely on every single day. But since direct attacks on these vital programs are deeply unpopular with the American people, they have resorted once again to a cowardly, backdoor attempt to undermine Social Security by slashing the Social Security Administration's budget. CREDO and our members will fight back to make sure Republicans don't get away with this or any other attack on Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid." - Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director, CREDO

"We demand that Congress fully fund the Social Security Administration in the upcoming federal budget and stop this attack on seniors and the disabled community. By reducing services, Republicans are just coming at us from a different direction." - Robert Roach, Jr., President, Alliance for Retired Americans

"The Senate Appropriation proposes cuts of $492 million from the current spending levels. This does not take into account the $400 million in COLA that must be absorbed for increases in employee wages, leases, contractors and building costs. This will result in almost $1 billion less to administer the Social Security programs. More offices will close, lines will be longer, 1-800 number wait times will grow to hours. Backlogs will grow. This is not fair to the SSA workers, but it is a broken promise to the public we serve who spent years investing in Social Security." - Dana Duggins, Executive Vice-President of the SSA Council, American Federation of Government Employees

"For more than 82 years, the Social Security program's system of protections for American workers have served as a vital lifeline for beneficiaries and their families. But what good is a lifeline when there's no one there to toss you the rope?" - Max Richtman, President & CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Social Security Works' mission is to: Protect and improve the economic security of disadvantaged and at-risk populations; Safeguard the economic security of those dependent, now or in the future, on Social Security; and Maintain Social Security as a vehicle of social justice.