Larson, Davis, Pascrell Call for Removal of Social Security Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner

Mar 5, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT), Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) called for the immediate removal of the Commissioner of Social Security, Andrew Saul, and the Deputy Commissioner, David Black, who were both appointed by former President Trump.

“Andrew Saul has aggressively advanced a range of anti-beneficiary and anti-employee policies at the Social Security Administration (SSA) that threaten grievous harm to vulnerable Americans,” said Chairman Larson, Chairman Davis and Chairman Pascrell. “Mr. Saul and his deputy, David Black, have pushed substantial cuts to Social Security. They have also engaged in aggressive anti-union activities and terminated telework for thousands of employees in the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policies advanced by Mr. Saul and Mr. Black fit right in with former President Trump and congressional Republicans’ agenda for Social Security – dismantling and cutting it. President Biden needs a team that will work with him to strengthen Social Security, value its dedicated workforce, and protect Americans who rely on Social Security. Mr. Saul and Mr. Black need to go right now.”

Mr. Saul was appointed Commissioner by former President Trump for a six-year term that expires in 2025; Mr. Black previously was part of the Trump transition team for SSA, and was then appointed Deputy Commissioner. Their actions have disproportionately harmed vulnerable Americans like low-income seniors and people with disabilities, immigrants, and people of color, and have included:

  • Implementing a new rule that denies disability benefits for older, severely disabled workers who are unable to communicate in English, resulting in approximately 100,000 people being denied more than $5 billion in benefits from 2020 to 2029;
  • Finalizing a new regulation that dramatically reduces due process protections for Social Security appeals hearings, by allowing the SSA to use agency attorneys instead of independent judges for the hearings;
  • Proposing to abuse the disability review process to cut off benefits for eligible people, and proposing to make it significantly harder for older, severely disabled workers to be found eligible for disability benefits;
  • Advancing the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policies by resuming mailing controversial “no-match letters” to employers with even minor discrepancies between their wage reports and their employees’ Social Security records. These letters effectively serve to harass immigrants and their employers, often leading to U.S. citizens and work-authorized immigrants being fired; and
  • Wholeheartedly embracing the Trump Administration’s anti-federal employee policies, including forcing harsh union contracts that strip employees of rights and ending telework for thousands of employees just months before the COVID-19 pandemic started – a particularly ill-fated decision given the critical role telework has played in SSA’s ability to continue serving the public during the pandemic.