House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation.
Perhaps most provocatively, Thomas said lawmakers should debate whether Social Security benefits should differ for men and women, because women live longer. "We never have debated gender-adjusting Social Security," he said. A House leadership official said that not even Republicans on Thomas's committee would vote for that idea. Thomas also said the system might take into account the need of blue-collar workers to retire younger than office workers.
Yeah, that'll help clear things up. Yeesh.
Thomas's comments, which took the White House by surprise, reflected some Republicans' view that the White House has mishandled the plan's rollout and that a fresh start is needed to allow a chance for getting Democratic support.
Right. Bush finally got caught mishandling something, so he gets a "do-over"? My dyin' ass. He has enough trouble riding a bicycle forward, let alone trying to back-pedal one, no doubt to run over some citizen's rights that he missed.
It's gonna be a big fight, but this is a glimmer of hope.