Press Release
Tuesday, May 25, 1999

WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition today commended the sponsors of Social Security lock box proposals, specifically bills H.R.1259 and H.R.1927, for their efforts to lock away the Social Security surplus.

"Both bills would make it more difficult for Congress to pay for new spending or tax cuts by dipping into the Social Security surplus. While structured somewhat differently, either bill would provide an extra measure of protection for the Social Security surplus. I applaud the sponsors of both bills for their commitment to this issue and give extra credit to Congressmen Rush Holt, Ken Lucas and Dennis Moore for their proposal to protect the entire budget surplus, over and above the Social Security surplus, until real entitlement reform is enacted," said Concord Coalition Policy Director Robert Bixby.

While encouraged by the lock box proposals, the Concord Coalition cautioned that their enforcement measure – a budget point of order -- is not tamper proof. "Both lock box proposals make attacking the Social Security surplus subject to a budget point of order requiring additional votes. However, we only have to look at the number of yes votes for last week's emergency supplemental legislation to see that this enforcement mechanism is not tamper proof," Bixby said.

For example, the Senate requires a supermajority of 60 votes to override a budget point of order. Last week's emergency spending legislation received 64 votes, more than enough votes to waive a budget point of order.

"The Social Security lock box proposals have raised the important question of how we can best preserve budget surpluses for entitlement reform. However, we cannot let these proposals overshadow the need for real reform. We hope Congress and the President will turn to this task next," Bixby said.