The partisan assault on our institutions is alive and well under President Joe Biden. Throughout his presidential campaign, Biden touted his legacy of bipartisanship and committed to bridge the partisan divide. Yet, since day one of his administration, Biden has gone back on that pledge in order to advance his radical agenda at all levels of government.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) serves an important non-partisan mission to administer Social Security benefits to the millions of Americans who rely on them. It was designed to be an independent, non-partisan agency with its commissioner serving a fixed six-year term lasting longer than a single presidential administration to provide stability and clear guidance for the agency and its personnel.
For years, this agency and its commissioner had a reputation of non-partisanship. For example, following his 2007 appointment by President George W. Bush, SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue continued to serve until 2013, which covered President Barack Obama’s entire first term and extended into his second.
Its most recent commissioner, Andrew Saul, was confirmed to a six-year term in June 2019 on a broadly bipartisan 77 to 16 vote. As SSA commissioner, Saul worked to better the constituent services that SSA provides by modernizing its information technology (IT) infrastructure and hiring frontline staff for both in-person and over-the-phone services, reducing wait times and addressed a backlog of SSA cases.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Commissioner Saul took unprecedented action to protect the health and safety of staff while continuing to provide quality constituent services. The agency is in a better place because of Commissioner Saul’s leadership.
Under the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994, which made SSA an independent agency separate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the commissioner "may be removed from office only pursuant to a finding by the president of neglect of duty or malfeasance in office."
President Biden violated the independent mission of the Social Security Administration by firing Commissioner Saul not for his work performance but for political motivations. This decision creates confusion and uncertainty about the ability of future SSA commissioners to act in a non-partisan manner.
The unconstitutional removal of Commissioner Andrew Saul represents another casualty in President Biden’s partisan witch hunt to purge America’s institutions of people who do not share his political beliefs. President Biden is putting partisan politics above the people’s work, which in this case includes critical services for the elderly and disabled.
This is not an isolated incident – it is part of a pattern of this administration driving Republicans out of public service. From the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts to the Social Security Administration, the Biden administration has shown that it is able and willing to politicize every level of government to advance its agenda, no matter the damage it causes to both individual workers and institutions.
This purge of civil servants is being driven by the far-left and their agents who call the shots, in addition to Congressional Democrats seeking to placate the restless radical fringe. In the case of Commissioner Saul, public-sector unions were responsible for a smear campaign to oust him from the government, even though he had a history of bipartisan civil service, working under both Presidents Bush and Obama at the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB).
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These unions have manufactured complaints against Commissioner Saul, saying he denied benefits to disabled beneficiaries or used "no-match" letters to harass immigrants. In reality, the commissioner actually stopped both of these practices. Labor took an old page right out of its playbook: replace an independent voice with a lackey to gain leverage in collective bargaining efforts with the government. Union bosses win and the American people lose.
Their biggest complaint is that Commissioner Saul asked staff to return to work in July in order to better serve the American people in field offices and at the agency. This move was decried as anti-worker even though the Biden White House made the same decision for its workforce.
This partisan witch hunt and purging of Republicans from the government should scare all Americans.
The firing of Andrew Saul was an unprecedented and unconstitutional action driven by partisanship that has politicized the agency responsible for administering critical and earned benefits and services to millions of Americans. This action will only cause further distrust in our institutions. What happened to Commissioner Saul could happen to anybody. As Americans, we should not stand for it.