April 29, 1998
The Administration supports the goal of H.R. 3546, to convene a national
dialogue on Social Security and develop reforms for ensuring the long-range
solvency of the Social Security program. The Administration is strongly
committed to working in a bipartisan manner with members of Congress to
pursue our common goal of assuring that Social Security is strengthened for
the 21st century while remaining the bedrock of protection for American
workers and their families.
On January 27th, the President put forward a flexible and inclusive plan for achieving Social Security reform and invited every American to participate in the process. The plan calls for a year of national discussion, including nonpartisan forums in every region of the country followed by a White House Conference on Social Security. This is an inclusive process that allows for a variety of ideas and proposals from both Republicans and Democrats as to how best to further this national discussion. Once this process has been completed, the Administration hopes to begin bipartisan negotiations with the Congress. This open and inclusive process, without legislating a commission, is the most flexible way of building the required public understanding for achieving Social Security reform. The Administration believes that a commission and therefore H.R. 3546 is unnecessary.
If Congress passes H.R. 3546, the bill should require the panel to finish its work before the White House Conference on Social Security convenes so that bipartisan negotiations can begin in January 1999.