March 16,2005

Congressional Democrats Speak Out Against Privatization

Baucus: Privatizing Social Security No ‘Slam Dunk’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus, Ranking Member of the SenateFinance Committee, stood firm during a press conference held with several CongressionalDemocrats to oppose any Social Security privatization plans causing deep benefit cuts and thatcould potentially weaken the program.

“It may be March Madness, but privatizing Social Security is no slam dunk. In fact,privatization is an air ball going nowhere,” said Baucus, referring to the NCAA Collegebasketball championship tournament now underway.

As President Bush continues his 60 day/60 city tour to sell his Social Security plan,Senator Baucus was joined by other Congressional leaders to show a united front as Congressgoes into a two week recess.

“All of my colleagues here today agree that Social Security needs to be strengthened forthe long-term,” Baucus said. “But any plan privatizing Social Security will only weaken theprogram and make its financial situation worse, not better. Those of us standing here today willnot negotiate any sort of reform plan until private accounts are taken out of the discussion.”

During yesterday’s Senate session, 45 Senate Democrats coalesced around an amendment sponsored by Bill Nelson (D-FL) stating Congress should reject any Social Security plan thatwould cause “deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt.” Although the measure failed topass by one vote, it sent a strong message that Democrats are united and will fight against anyplan privatizing Social Security. The final vote was a split vote of 50 to 50. Five Republicansvoted for the measure.

“Yesterday’s vote is a clear indication of what will be coming if private accountscontinue to be part of any plan to reform Social Security.” Baucus said. “This isn’t the finalbuzzer, but I encourage the Administration to go back to the playbook.”

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