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Social Security Talk On Hold

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The Washington Post reports that “With their disputes only deepening, House and Senate lawmakers agreed yesterday to put off action on Social Security restructuring again — this time until September at the earliest.”

The most recent in a series of meetings by Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee broke up yesterday with no progress on the central issues that have stymied the panel all summer. In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) remains at odds with GOP leaders over his push to secure the long-term solvency of Social Security.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) had vowed to push a Social Security bill to a committee showdown this month. But with Thomas already signaling a delay until the fall, Finance Committee officials said they will follow the House’s lead.

This is no doubt welcome news for Rep. Bob Beauprez and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, both of whom probably don’t want to get caught in the middle of this debate with tough campaigns looming in 2006. Support for President Bush’s Social Security restructuring, much of which revolves around privatizing accounts, has been terribly low in most nationwide polls conducted in the last six months. If either Beauprez or Musgrave voted with the President on the current reform plan, they would surely see negative ads taking them to task for it next summer – and with polls indicating weak support, those ads would likely be effective.

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