This is the second installment in a three-part series on legislation that may emerge from a GOP-controlled Congress. Click here for part one on ending birthright citizenship.
After their attempt to privatize Social Security in 2005 was met with widespread public outcry, the GOP’s strategy on Social Security has been two-fold. First, Republicans deny they are interested in privatization. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently told the Wall Street Journal that “no one has a proposal up to cut Social Security,” (his own book proposes doing so), while conservatives in the media have tried to argue that Republicans don’t actually want to privatize Social Security.
The second tactic has been to obfuscate their privatization plans by sugarcoating them in flowery, palatable language. President Bush’s privatization plan is a prime example. In his 2005 State of the Union, President Bush said we needed to “save” Social Security and give younger workers a “better deal” by having “voluntary personal retirement accounts,” the poll-tested language for privatization. Bush now says his greatest failure was not privatizing Social Security.
However, such rhetoric belies their record. A thorough review of the voting records and statements of Republicans in Congress reveals a critical mass of GOPers who have supported privatizing Social Security. In total, 47 percent of House Republicans and 49 percent of Senate Republicans are on record supporting the privatization of Social Security. Some, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), want to go even further and “wean everybody” off of Social Security altogether.
As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Republicans in Congress have long operated by the “majority of the majority” principle, whereby legislation is only advanced by a GOP Speaker if it is supported by a majority of Republicans. With many prominent GOP candidates in favor of privatizing or eliminating Social Security, including Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Dan Coats, Sharron Angle, Dan Benishek, Ben Quayle, Star Parker, and Jesse Kelly, it’s likely that a GOP-controlled Congress would have the necessary votes to revisit the issue.
Here are the 104 Republicans in Congress who support privatizing Social Security (leadership in bold):
Jeff Sessions (AL)Richard Shelby (AL)Jon Kyl (AZ)John McCain (AZ)Saxby Chambliss (GA)Chuck Grassley (IA)Richard Lugar (IN)Pat Roberts (KS)Sam Brownback (KS)Mitch McConnell (KY)Roger Wicker (MS)Thad Cochran (MS)Judd Gregg (NH)James Inhofe (OK)Tom Coburn (OK)Jim DeMint (SC)Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)Bob Bennett (UT)Orrin Hatch (UT)Mike Enzi (WY)House of Representatives (84)Jo Bonner (AL-01)Spencer Bachus (AL-06)Trent Franks (AZ-02)Wally Herger (CA-02)Dan Lungren (CA-03)Devin Nunes (CA-21)David Dreier (CA-26)Jerry Lewis (CA-41)Ken Calvert (CA-44)Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46)John Campbell (CA-48)Darrell Issa (CA-49)Duncan Hunter (CA-52)Doug Lamborn (CO-05)Jeff Miller (FL-01)Ander Crenshaw (FL-04)Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05)Cliff Stearns (FL-06)Adam Putnam (FL-12)Connie Mack (FL-14)Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18)Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)Jack Kingston (GA-01)Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)Tom Price (GA-06)John Linder (GA-07)Phil Gingrey (GA-11)Tom Latham (IA-04)Steve King (IA-05)Judy Biggert (IL-13)John Shimkus (IL-19)Dan Burton (IN-05)Mike Pence (IN-06)Rodney Alexander (LA-05)Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)Pete Hoekstra (MI-02)Vern Ehlers (MI-03)David Lee Camp (MI-04)John Kline (MN-02)Erik Paulsen* (MN-03)Todd Akin (MO-02)Roy Blunt (MO-07)Virginia Foxx (NC-05)Howard Coble (NC-06)Sue Myrick (NC-09)Patrick McHenry (NC-10)Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)Lee Terry (NE-02)Scott Garrett (NJ-05)Peter King (NY-03)John Boehner (OH-08)John Sullivan (OK-01)Tom Cole (OK-04)Jim Gerlach* (PA-06)Bill Shuster (PA-09)Joseph Pitts (PA-16)Joe Wilson (SC-02)Gresham Barrett (SC-03)Bob Inglis (SC-04)Zach Wamp (TN-03)Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)Louie Gohmert (TX-01)Sam Johnson (TX-03)Jeb Hensarling (TX-05)Joe Barton (TX-06)Kevin Brady (TX-08)Michael McCaul (TX-10)Mike Conaway (TX-11)Mac Thornberry (TX-13)Ron Paul (TX-14)Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)Kenny Marchant (TX-24)Michael Burgess (TX-26)John Carter (TX-31)Pete Sessions (TX-32)Rob Bishop (UT-01)Jason Chaffetz (UT-03)Eric Cantor (VA-07)Doc Hastings (WA-04)Dave Reichert (WA-08)Paul Ryan (WI-01)Tom Petri (WI-06)Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02)Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)
*- Reps. Gerlach and Paulsen initially co-sponsored bills that would privatize Social Security before withdrawing their co-sponsorships.