Senators Feinstein and Domenici Welcome New Legislation To Address The Long-Term Health of America’s Entitlement Programs
Sep 18 2007
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) today welcomed legislation, introduced by Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH), which would create an entitlement task force to make recommendations on how to ensure the long-term health of Social Security and Medicare.
“This is very similar to legislation that we introduced in January. Our measure is slightly different, and creates a permanent, bipartisan entitlement commission. This is a critical debate. Social Security and Medicare are both projected to begin running out of money in the coming years, and the results would be disastrous for America. That’s why Senator Domenici and I believe it is vital that we ensure the long-term financial health of these programs. We look forward to moving our legislation,” Senator Feinstein said.
“Social Security and Medicare are critical to the well-being of many Americans. But left unchecked, these programs will consume more of the federal budget, harm the economy and eventually collapse. This is unacceptable. Senators Conrad and Gregg share the same concern that prompted Senator Feinstein and I to pen and introduce legislation in January that would create a permanent, bipartisan entitlement commission to examine and reform these programs,” said Senator Domenici.
The legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Domenici would create a permanent, 15-member commission to make recommendations on how best to save Social Security and Medicare. The legislation includes provisions requiring Congress to act on commission recommendations within a fixed timeframe.
Here is a summary of the Feinstein-Domenici legislation introduced on January 22:
- The commission would consist of 15 members selected for their expertise in finance and actuarial science.
- Members would be selected under a strict bipartisan formula: Seven would come from the majority party, seven from the minority party, and one from an independent, nonaffiliated party.
- Public hearings would be required around the country.
- The commission would made recommendations to the president and Congress one year after formation, and every five years thereafter.
- Its recommendations would be based on independent, actuarial reviews.
- The commission would make recommendations only when two-thirds, or 10 members, are in agreement.
- The legislation contains provisions designed to ensure that the commission’s recommendations are not a dead letter.
- Senate and House committees of jurisdiction would have 60 days to discharge commission-recommended legislation, or an amended version of the bill.
- The Senate and House would have 30 days to consider whatever measure emerges from committee, with relevant amendments allowed. Debate would be limited to 40 hours.