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AMAC Action Opposes Straining Social Security Administration Resources for Political Paid Leave Proposal

Congress should focus on good policy to help employees who cannot work, not political maneuvering for future legislation

AMAC supports the actions by Secretary Mnuchin and the Trump Administration to remove unnecessary administrative burdens on the Social Security Administration (SSA) from the Democrat’s initial COVID-19
response legislation. Under the Democrat’s proposal, emergency temporary paid leave would come under the purview of the Social Security Administration, something in which it has no expertise or history of administering. This proposal comes after the Democrat-controlled Ways and Means Committee passed a bill out of committee earlier this year to establish a taxpayer-funded paid leave program also administered by SSA. Under the Democrats’ proposal, a new payroll tax would be levied to
create a new government program providing paid leave for private sector workers. While SSA has experience in dealing with long-term disability, the agency has no experience dealing with short-term time off measured in days.

By attempting to establish a brand-new administrative program within an agency with no previous experience in short-term time off, the Democrats are playing politics with policy. This is a blatant attempt to try and use an emergency as an excuse for a future ill-advised program. Moreover, we object to any “backdoor” effort to encroach upon or borrow from the Social Security Trust Funds. In any emergency, such as the outbreak of COVID-19, any programs must rely on staff with previous experience in similar programs. In this case, it would have been much more prudent to establish the program within the Department of Labor which oversees  unemployment programs. Unpaid sick leave is effectively short-term unemployment simply with the intention of returning to the same employer. We should expect better decision making by Congressional leadership including making good policy, not playing politics.

AMAC Action supports swift action by Congress to develop emergency programs that will help American workers. Bipartisan efforts to combat COVID-19 are necessary as we, as individuals, make good choices to help prevent the spread of this terrible virus. Government alone cannot address this issue, it will take the collective effort of all Americans including individuals staying home from work if they feel sick, avoiding large gatherings, and ensuring proper hygiene. Congress should pass emergency actions to make sure no one has to make the decision to go out in public while sick or taking care of a sick individual, but those emergency actions shouldn’t contain hidden political agendas.

The 2.1 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC][] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC acts and speaks on members’ behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. AMAC Action is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization created to assist AMAC members with grassroots participation on Capitol Hill and at the local level through our
advocacy programs.

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