Letter to Congressional Leaders About the Social Security System

July 18, 1981

The highest priority of my Administration is restoring the integrity of the Social Security System. Those 35 million Americans who depend on Social Security expect and are entitled to prompt bipartisan action to resolve the current financial problem.

At the same time, I deplore the opportunistic political maneuvering, cynically designed to play on the fears of many Americans, that some in the Congress are initiating at this time. These efforts appear designed to exploit an issue rather than find a solution to the urgent Social Security problem. They would also have the unfortunate effect of disrupting the budget conference and reversing the actions of a majority of both Houses of the Congress. Such a result would jeopardize our economic recovery program so vital to the well-being of the Nation.

In order to tell the American people the facts, and to let them know that I shall fight to preserve the Social Security System and protect their benefits, I will ask for time on television to address the Nation as soon as possible.

During this address, I will call on the Congress to lay aside partisan politics, and join me in a constructive effort to put Social Security on a permanently sound financial basis as soon as the 97th Congress returns in September.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker, Jr., Senate Minority Leader Robert C. Byrd, Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., and House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel.

The text of the letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on July 20.