Andrew Saul, SSA commissioner appointed by Trump, sacked by Biden

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  • Biden has fired SSA commissioner Andrew Saul after refusing to step down, the White House has said.
  • The independently operated Social Security Administration pays more than $ 1 billion a year.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday sacked Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from President Donald Trump who regularly drew criticism from Democrats, unions and social protection advocates.

The White House confirmed the dismissal, saying Saul was made aware of the decision after refusing to resign at the president’s request.

A White House official accused Saul of taking steps during his tenure that “undermined and politicized Social Security disability benefits,” damaged relations with federal employee unions, and were ” contrary to the agency’s mission and the president’s political program ”.

Saul’s six-year term as head of the Social Security Administration is said to have ended in January 2025, but the White House cited recent Supreme Court rulings argue that the president has the power to replace him.

The Washington Post, who first reported on Saul’s sacking, cited the former SSA commissioner as being “very upset” by his abrupt dismissal. Saul said he intended to work remotely from his New York home on Monday.

“I consider myself to be the commissioner of social security with a protected term”, he said. “It was the first time that I or my deputy knew this was going to happen,” Saul added, describing his dismissal as a “Friday night massacre” that left the SSA in turmoil.

ASS Deputy Commissioner David Black agreed to resign on Friday. Named Biden Kilolo Kijakazi, deputy commissioner for pension and disability policy at SSA, as interim commissioner until the search for a permanent commissioner and deputy commissioner is complete.

Saul, a wealthy New York businessman, womenswear business owner and prominent Republican fundraiser, was appointed by Trump in 2018. He has been confirmed. by the Senate in 2019 by 77 against 16 for a six-year term.

The Social Security Administration, which has operated independently since 1994, pays more than $ 1,000 billion to 65 million beneficiaries each year. Progressives have repeatedly criticized Saul’s leadership, denouncing his lack of prior experience in SSA, proposals to limit benefits and regular clashes with unions.

“Unfortunately, since the confirmation, Mr. Saul and Mr. Black have made a habit of undermining our social security system and the federal SSA workforce,” Alex Lawson, executive director of social security works, wrote in a letter to Biden in March calling for their removal.

Republicans in Congress were quick to castigate Saul’s dismissal.

“This removal would be an unprecedented and dangerous politicization of the Social Security Administration,” said the Senate Minority Leader. Mitch McConnell tweeted.

Representative Kevin Brady, R-Texas, a senior member of the United States House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, a senior member of the US Senate Finance Committee, have also rolled back. In a joint statement, they said Social Security recipients “have the most to lose from President Biden’s partisan decision.”

“It is disappointing that the administration is injecting politics into the agency, given that Commissioner Saul has been confirmed with bipartisan approval, has worked closely with both sides in Congress and has provided benefits and smooth service during the biggest management challenge ever encountered by the agency. “

The main group representing SSA employees celebrated Saul’s departure and Kijakazi’s appointment.

Ralph de Juliis, general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees’ General Committee for the SSA, which represents 45,000 SSA employees, called it “a new day for the Social Security Administration.”

de Juliis said Saul and Black spent nearly three years “reducing the level of service the American people deserve.” He accused them of destroying employee morale, mismanaging stimulus funds for the elderly and disabled and creating an “anti-employee and anti-union workplace.”

“President Biden has made the right call to send these Trump appointees and instead appoint someone who is dedicated to investing in Social Security,” he said.

Join Chelsey Cox on Twitter @therealco. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.



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