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Oral History of the Board[1]

Voices from the Senate

The following excerpt was taken from a speech given by Webster Phillips of SSA at the request of Senator Moynihan of New York on August 5, 1994, the day the Senate passed the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (H.R. 4277), which established SSA as an independent agency and simultaneously created the 7-member bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board.

Webster Phillips, SSA Employee – August 5, 1994.

“With the conference report before us today, we increase the stature of the Social Security Administration, strengthen its leadership and establish a bipartisan Advisory Board.  These measures will strengthen the administration of Social Security and we confidently believe increase public confidence in the program.”


Voices from the House of Representatives

The following excerpts were taken from speeches given by members of the House of Representatives on August 11, 1994, the day the House passed the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (H.R. 4277).

Bill Archer, Former Representative from Texas’s 7th District (1971 – 2000) – August 11, 1994.

“I believe that the seven-member bipartisan Advisory Board will play a critical role making Social Security less political and in improving the public’s confidence in the Social Security system.

This Board will be independent of the Social Security Administration and Government in general.  It will be made up of individuals who share knowledge of the Social Security System as well as a strong desire to restore it to its former status as a premier public service agency which enjoyed the public’s respect and confidence.

One of the most important jobs the Board will have is to increase the public’s understanding of the Social Security System.  I hope that as a result of the Board’s efforts the average citizen will have more confidence in the Social Security System, and will become more aware of the need to plan and save overall.

The bipartisan, nongovernmental Advisory Board will play a vital role in both protecting the public’s interest in Social Security and providing the public truthful information about their stake in the system.”

James Bunning, Former Representative from Kentucky’s 4th District (1987-1999) and Former Senator from Kentucky (1999-2011) – August 11, 1994.

 “I am particularly pleased that the conferees chose to go along with this form of leadership for Social Security that I specified in my bill on the subject—a single administrator backed by a 7-member Board.

By granting Social Security its independence and backing it up with this well-balanced management structure, we will provide the stability and the nonpartisan credibility we need to restore the confidence of the American people that Social Security will indeed be there when they need it.”

W. Bill Young, Representative from Florida’s 13th District, Formerly representing Florida’s 6th, 8th, and 10th Districts in different Congresses (1971-2013) – August 11, 1994.

 “This Board, as the voice for the almost 40 million Americans who receive Social Security benefits, would ensure that the trust funds remain sound and untouched, that payments and cost-of-living adjustments continue to be paid in full and on time, and that the agency continues to provide timely and efficient service for retirees, workers, and employers.”


Voices from the Board

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[1] The views reflected in this Oral History of the Board do not necessarily represent the views of the current Board.