Thursday, September 15, 2005

Republicans Seek Strategy to Abandon Social Security Overhaul U.S.: "Prospects that the U.S. Congress will pass an overhaul of Social Security this year have vanished, leaving Republicans to debate how best to walk away from the centerpiece of President George W. Bush's second-term domestic agenda.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate said a comprehensive proposal had no chance of being acted on this year, even though Republican leaders such as House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Representative Roy Blunt haven't publicly abandoned the effort.

``It certainly doesn't appear to me it's going to happen,'' said Representative Jim Kolbe, an Arizona Republican and a supporter of Bush's proposal to create private investment accounts using Social Security funds.

Bush's proposal has been hobbled by flagging support from the public and near-universal opposition from Democrats. Hurricane Katrina, which struck Aug. 29 and may cost as much as $200 billion, has made it even more difficult to proceed with a comprehensive Social Security measure this year, said Representative Clay Shaw, a Florida Republican who sits on the Ways and Means Committee.

``With what's going on with Katrina, it's going to be a huge deficit,'' Shaw said. The Congressional Budget Office estimated Bush's Social Security proposal may contribute as much as $2 trillion to the deficit over 10 years."


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