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Johnson Opening Statement at Hearing on Ensuring Social Security Serves America’s Veterans

February 07, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) today delivered the following statement at a Subcommittee hearing entitled “Ensuring Social Security Serves America’s Veterans.”

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Good morning and welcome to today’s hearing on ensuring Social Security helps America’s veterans. 

“Before turning to today’s topic, I wanted to take a minute to say a few words about another public servant, Ed Lorenzen.  As some of you may know, Ed’s life was tragically cut short just a few weeks ago. 

“Ed spent most of his career on the Hill working for fellow Texan, Rep. Charlie Stenholm.  Later he worked for my good friend, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. After that, he staffed the Bowles-Simpson Commission, the Super Committee, and even testified in front of this Subcommittee a few times while working for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. 

“Ed was the type of person you’d want as a staffer – whip smart and a hard worker. And while we didn’t always agree on how best to fix it, his passion for addressing Social Security and our unsustainable debt was unmatched. 

“His death is a loss for the American people and he will be missed. My prayers are with his children, family, and friends during this difficult time.

“Turning back to today’s hearing, our veterans serve our country and in return the government should make it easy to access the services and benefits they have earned. This means having a simple and fast process when our veterans apply for Social Security disability benefits. This is especially true for our wounded warriors.

“Americans across the board are waiting far too long for a disability hearing and Social Security must get the backlog under control. But today we will hear how Social Security speeds up disability claims for certain veterans. We will also hear about how it uses electronic health records from the VA and DOD to speed up decisions. I’m glad to see Social Security using technology to keep disability decisions moving. That’s a good thing.

“And finally, we will hear about Social Security’s great job when it comes to hiring our veterans.

“During their time in uniform, our veterans demonstrated the highest level of duty, honor, and discipline. And they demonstrated tremendous knowledge and skill in their jobs. These are attributes every employer seeks in a candidate.

“Colleagues, Americans rightly expect us to do the best for our veterans. Social Security is no exception. While there are things that Social Security is getting right there is still room for improvement. And as Chairman and as a 29-year veteran I’m committed as ever to making sure Social Security effectively serves our veterans.

“I thank our witness, Ms. Clemons, for being here today and I look forward to hearing her testimony.”