Ribble Pushes to End Debt Ceiling Showdown; Urges Members to Step up and Save Social Security

Sep 19, 2013 Issues: Budget, Social Security

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Reid Ribble has penned a letter to his Republican colleagues laying out the case for Congress to save Social Security as part of the upcoming fiscal talks on government spending and the debt ceiling.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its update to the 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook earlier this week and the report very grimly illustrates our nation’s long-term insolvency problems – driven largely by the growing deficits of entitlement programs such as Social Security. The report also stated that the longer Congress waits to take action and protect this vital safety net, the more difficult the challenge will become. Congress must get serious about ensuring Social Security doesn’t go bankrupt, and Ribble believes now is the time to act.

The following is a statement by Congressman Ribble regarding his letter to House colleagues:

“Social Security has served as a lifeline for our seniors for generations. Unfortunately given our nation’s demographics this crucial safety net isn’t going to last another generation unless we step forward and take action. Congress needs to pass legislation today that puts the program on solid ground for our children and grandchildren.

That is why I wrote to my colleagues. These are not the only ideas. I have compiled Democratic and Republican suggestions that have been widely discussed and evaluated. Putting them together, however, provides Congress a path to ensure Social Security’s solvency for decades. We should be able to come together as a Congress and a nation to address this problem before it becomes a crisis.  Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together in an era of divided government to protect our seniors.  We should do the same.  We’ve kicked the can for years, but we shouldn’t wait any longer to act. The math is relatively easy; it’s leading that may be difficult.”

Congressman Ribble’s letter to his colleagues can be found here.

What budget leaders are saying about Social Security and entitlements:

“We’ve done caps on discretionary and defense. We’ve done revenues. But we haven’t done entitlements.”
- Maya MacGuineas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (9/18/13)

"Lawmakers should address the financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare as soon as possible," the trustees report said. "Taking action sooner rather than later will leave more options and more time available to phase in changes to that the public has adequate time to prepare."
- 2013 Social Security Trustees’ Report (5/31/13)

“Best chance for a budget deal is a deal on Social Security. Some on Hill are discussing this.”
Jim Kessler, Third Way (9/18/13)

“It is going to take political courage on both sides to come together on fiscal common ground. The problem is real, the solutions are painful, and there is no easy way out. But there is room for a solution. We must find it for the sake of our grandchildren, ourselves, and our country.”
Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles (9/18/13)

“AARP believes that the current long-term shortfall should be addressed sooner rather than later so that the fundamental structure of the program can be retained, changes can be more modest, and the protections it offers to almost all workers and their families can be strengthened.”
- A. Barry Rand, CEO of AARP (2/14/13)

“On our current path, the oversized federal debt will continue to grow and annual deficits will soon begin to rise again…Yet a bipartisan chorus of elected officials in Washington is still shying away from dealing with the core problems: retirement and health care programs...”
- Concord Coalition (9/17/13)