Roll Call reports today that Republican lawmakers are considering abandonment of the Social Security reforms that were to be the cornerstone of Bush's second-term agenda. The story, by Ben Pershing and Emily Pierce, quotes "one Senior Republican lawmaker," as saying flatly, "It's over." Excerpts follow:
Fearful that tackling Social Security reform could cripple his party
in the 2006 elections, National Republican Congressional Committee
Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) plans to recommend to his fellow leaders
that they shelve the issue for the remainder of the 109th Congress.
"Reynolds told [Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill] Thomas that he would recommend to the leaders that we not proceed with Social Security this year because it did not appear there was any chance it would be passed into law by the Senate, and we'd be forcing our vulnerables to walk to the plank for nothing," said a source familiar with Reynolds' comments.
While Reynolds made reference only to not doing Social Security this
year, the source said it was widely understood that "if it doesn't
happen now, it's not happening in 2007."
Reynolds strong desire to abandon Social Security reform is reflective
of widespread nervousness among GOP campaign strategists about how the
issue will play out next November. Republican sources said that the
results of the party's internal polling and focus groups on Social
Security have made the GOP's political operatives nervous about
proceeding, especially since the party's approval ratings and generic
ballot performance are already low.
The full, registration-restricted story is available at Roll Call.
Originally published on Thursday September 15, 2005.