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Representatives Seek Answers on Social Security Administration’s Workers’ Retreat Spending

July 13, 2009


Washington, DC – Three U.S. Representatives who serve as the top Democrat and Republicans on subcommittees overseeing the Social Security Administration (SSA) have requested a thorough explanation of why taxpayer funds were used for a conference at the luxurious Arizona Biltmore resort. 

Seeking the information are John Tanner (D-TN) and Sam Johnson (R-TX), respectively the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Social Security, as well as John Linder (R-GA), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Supplemental Security Income program administered by SSA.

“At a time when millions of Americans are out of work and having to do more with less, and when the SSA has received significant new funding to address near record backlogs after longstanding funding requests made before our Subcommittees, it is essential that great care be taken to use administrative funding wisely, in a way that brings the most value to the American people SSA serves,” the Representatives wrote in a letter to Michael Astrue, the Commissioner of Social Security. 

Giving the Administration a July 17, 2009, deadline, the Representatives asked SSA for detailed information about the conference, including:

  • All conference costs paid by the taxpayers, including travel, rooms, meals, speakers, entertainment, conference room rental and equipment charges; and
  • The process used to select the conference location, including whether government contracting rules were followed and whether the hotel housing the conference was the lowest bidder.

The entire letter can be read here.