Press Release
Monday, April 27, 1998

WASHINGTON--The Concord Coalition Citizens Council today announced its support of the National Dialogue on Social Security Act of 1998 (H.R. 3546). The legislation is sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas).

"In order to prepare our nation's citizens for the kind of changes required to put Social Security on a sound footing through the next century, they need to hear what the issues are and the pros and cons of various options," said Martha Phillips, executive director of the Concord Coalition Citizens Council. "We applaud this bill for advancing a balanced, bipartisan dialogue."

The bill would convene a "National Dialogue on Social Security" to engage the American public through regional conferences and internet exchanges. A Dialogue Council would be nominated by 25 organizations, including the Concord Coalition, to advise on the development and operation of the conferences.

The bill also would establish an eight-member bipartisan Joint Committee on Social Security Reform to take suggestions and develop a proposal for Social Security reform. The House Ways and Means Committee gave its approval to the bill in a voice vote last week.

"Based on our experience hosting meetings around the nation on this issue, the Concord Coalition Citizens Council is convinced that if the American people are armed with the facts and given the opportunity for honest dialogue, they will reach decisions that are fair to people in all ages and income groups," said Phillips.

The Concord Coalition and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) are currently cosponsoring a series of bipartisan discussions designed to lay the foundation for Social Security reform. The first forum, attended by President Clinton, was held in Kansas City, Mo., on April 7. Concord also continues to sponsor its Paul Tsongas Project, a series of public forums designed to engage Americans of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds in a public debate about the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and the options for reform.