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After Another Missed Deadline, Lawmakers Urge Nomination of SSA Commissioner

April 03, 2018

Washington, D.C. –  Yesterday, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith (R-NE) sent a letter to President Trump calling for the nomination of a Commissioner for the Social Security Administration (SSA), a position which has been vacant for over five years.

The lawmakers wrote:

“For too long, this important agency has struggled without the strong and consistent leadership of a Senate-confirmed Commissioner. … In that time, SSA has faced unprecedented challenges like the urgent need to modernize its information technology systems and record-high wait times for claimants to receive a disability hearing decision. 

“On March 6, 2018, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the SSA has been in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-227) since November 17, 2017. As a result, the office of Commissioner is now vacant, leaving this important agency without an official leader. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this. All it takes to put the SSA back into compliance with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 is the nomination of a Commissioner.” 

The full letter can be found here.

NOTE: Every year, the Board of Trustees for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds are required to release reports by April 1 on the financial health of Social Security and Medicare. These reports help inform lawmakers about the financial status of these important programs, on which millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities rely. Unfortunately, year after year, the Trustees fail to meet that statutory deadline and create more unnecessary uncertainty about the future of these programs.

The Board of Trustees is compromised of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Labor, the Commissioner of Social Security, and two Public Trustees.  At this time, three of these positions are vacant.  The 2018 report will be the third report in a row without Public Trustees involved in the process.