WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is echoing calls from nearly 120 lawmakers for Congress to reject a proposed fiscal commission that would bypass elected leadership and make recommendations to slash vital federal programs and government services.
“A fiscal commission would give a small group of lawmakers and non-elected individuals enormous power to recommend cuts to Social Security and other popular programs without any ability for the public to weigh in,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said.
“If Congress is serious about preserving Social Security, Medicare, and similar programs for future generations, then it needs to have an honest discussion about how to do that – not pawn off these decisions to a secret group behind closed doors.”
On Jan. 11, Reps. John Larson of Connecticut and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries signed by 116 members of the U.S. House calling on them to exclude a fiscal commission from legislation funding the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2024 or any other must-pass bills.
“It is Congress’s responsibility to conduct the oversight and recommend enhancements to solvency or cuts, and it should be done in the open and not behind closed doors,” the letter states. “We do not need a Commission to tell us what we must do, we need the political courage to take up these or any other proposals in regular order.”
Congress, for example, has yet to advance Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act, which would modernize Social Security, increase benefits, and safeguard the trust fund – all without raising taxes on middle income Americans or raising the retirement age.
Congress still hasn’t agreed on full-year funding for federal agencies, which have been operating under continuing resolutions since the fiscal year began Oct. 1.
“With just a week before government funding runs out for various departments including Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, HUD, and Transportation, Congress should focus on passing full-year funding for these and other government programs instead of trying to pawn off its tough decisions to an exclusive commission,” Kelley said.