It looks like Bush is conceding that his push for personal accounts attached to SSI is as about as viable as a "We Love Osama Day" being passed as a national holiday. Bush is backing Utah Sen. Bob Bennett's plan which does not include personal accounts. I do not know the details of the plan, but Bennett is claiming that he already has some Democratic support. Hopefully, now we can get through some of the partisan gridlock and start working on shoring up SSI.
Bush Backs Soc. Sec. Bill Without Accounts
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
54 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - President Bush encouraged a Republican senator on Tuesday to offer Social Security legislation that would not include private investment accounts. The White House said the president still was committed to allowing workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes.
Bush's nod to Utah Sen. Bob Bennett's plan comes as public polls show that most Americans do not support the president's handling of the Social Security issue. Congress has been deadlocked on it.
Bennett said that during a luncheon with other Republican senators at the White House, he told the president of his plans to introduce the bill as early as next week.
"He indicated that I should go forward and do that," Bennett said. "And I'm grateful to have him do that even though his own preference would be to have personal accounts included."
The White House said the president is encouraging all members of Congress to offer their ideas to make the Social Security system solvent.
"This in no way should be interpreted to mean that the president is backing off of personal accounts," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. "He is not."
Since the beginning of his second term, Bush has been pushing to allow younger workers to create voluntary personal accounts funded out of their Social Security payroll taxes. Democrats accuse the White House of seeking to privatize the Depression-era program and have been unified in opposition to the idea.
"I've decided that the Democrats have made it clear that they will not back personal accounts," Bennett said outside the White House. "And in response to the president's position that let's try to get something done, I will be proposing a bill that does not include personal accounts."
Bennett said some Democrats have told him privately that they would support such a bill, but he is not sure how many will be on board publicly now that he's introducing the legislation. He said he is looking for Democrats to co-sponsor the bill, but he didn't have any to announce Tuesday.