Washington, DC – In a new letter released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the National Academy of Social Insurance, more than 100 former lawmakers, cabinet secretaries, White House officials, Congressional Budget Office directors, and other experts urge the Senate to take quick action on President Donald Trump’s nominees to fill the Social Security and Medicare public trustee roles.
Legislation passed in 1983 established the public trustee positions as independent, non-governmental voices on the boards of Social Security and Medicare. Trump this month nominated Democrat William G. Dauster to one of the open roles, alongside the previously nominated Republican James B. Lockhart III.
“These positions have been vacant since 2015, violating the intent of federal law and depriving Congress and the public of key objective insights into the health of the [Social Security and Medicare] Trust Funds,” the letter argues.
Given that “both programs face significant long-range financing challenges,” the letter reads, “it is imperative that the vacancies are filled expeditiously to ensure the proper monitoring and safeguarding of the funds that help provide a secure financial foundation for millions of Americans.”
The trustees currently project the primary Social Security trust fund to be exhausted in 2034 and the Medicare Hospital Insurance fund, which finances inpatient care, to run dry in 2026. Last year, the two programs required $431 billion in general revenues beyond the collections of payroll taxes and income taxes on Social Security.
Among the letter’s signatories are prominent former members of the Trump, Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton administrations, 19 former members of Congress, eight former Congressional Budget Office directors, and current members of the Social Security Advisory Board. BPC and the National Academy of Social Insurance were supported in this effort by a grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.