Washington, D.C. -- The Senate agreed 91-1 today to proceed to a vote on legislation that would make it difficult except in times of actual emergency to spend Social Security trust funds on anything except Social Security and reducing the debt.
Senate Democrats reversed themselves in today's vote after weeks of wrangling and three previous votes against proceeding to the Republican Social Security Lock Box bill. A vote of 60 or more senators was needed to agree to debate time limits and a final vote on the bill. President Clinton announced this week new budget estimates predicting higher surpluses than expected and calling for Social Security to be protected.
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., hopes the Democrats' apparent newfound willingness to promote the health of Social Security will carry over to the actual vote on the "lock box" when it really counts.
"Finally, some positive action has followed the president's words. After more than two months of blocking debate on a bill that would save Social Security money in a 'Lock Box' for future generations, Senate Democrats have given up their senseless stalling. I hope their recent illumination will continue with the final vote later this month," said Enzi.
An up or down vote on the "Lock Box" legislation is scheduled to occur on the morning of Friday, July 16.
The "Lock Box" legislation would protect the Social Security Trust fund by not allowing the money to be used for anything except Social Security and debt retirement spending, except in times of national crisis. In these cases, 60 votes would be needed to approve uses of the money other than for Social Security or the debt repayment.