Denny the Meatpuppet sez there will be no Social Security demolition bill this year, sending the White House into a scramble.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has acknowledged that President Bush’s call for completion of a Social Security bill this year could be unrealistic and that the legislation might have to wait until 2006.
The president’s aides immediately responded by saying Bush is committed to winning passage this year. The White House and Republican congressional leaders have said repeatedly that the proposed restructuring of the retirement system is doomed if it does not pass this year, because it will be even more difficult to get Democratic support in 2006, a midterm election year.
“Politically, we probably need to get something done by next spring, a year from now,” he said. “You can’t carry it right up to an election. That’s just political dynamite.”
The speaker’s assessment reflects the realization by Republican lawmakers that Bush’s proposal, featuring individual stock and bond accounts for workers younger than 55, has yet to gain momentum despite weekly barnstorming by Bush.
Bush aides continued to emphasize urgency. Rob Nichols, the chief Treasury Department spokesman, said: “We are committed to working with Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that strengthens and secures Social Security for future generations this year.”