It all sounds like “good government,” but the politics are rich.
House Democrats were not consulted on the rules change, and liberals accuse the GOP of trying to cull the weak from the herd, pitting the disabled against pensioners to undermine the larger Social Security coalition.
In fact, the new rule’s fine print leaves an escape hatch for Republicans to move tens of billions into the disability fund if this gambit fails. Still, the upshot could be a one-two punch Democrats most fear: a first-round debate over disability funding in 2016 followed by a bigger battle over all of Social Security in 2017, when Republicans hope to control both Congress and the White House.
“They’re looking for a new weapon,” said Michigan Rep. Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means. “What they’re doing in this rule is to use any problems within disability as a way to attack the whole system. It’s dangerous doubletalk when they have been the problem, not the answer.”