GOP Launches Budget Ad Campaign to Save Social Security

By Bruce Sullivan | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

Washington ( - In an effort to fend off what they say is a potential raid on the surpluses in the Social Security Trust Fund by congressional Democrats and President Clinton, House Republican leaders unveiled a television ad campaign Monday that urges constituents to ask their representatives not to touch any of the fund.

For 30 years, the federal budget has used surpluses from the Social Security Trust Fund to finance government programs outside Social Security. According to House Majority Leader Dick Armey, (R-TX), 1998 was the first time in those 30 years that the surplus was not used and he wants to continue the pattern for this year's budget.

"We did it in the last fiscal year, therefore we must do it again," said Armey.

Armey, and National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Davis, (R-VA) urged House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, (D-MO), to join them in pledging not to touch Social Security. Gephardt said on national television Sunday that the Social Security surplus should be left alone, if possible, but stopped short of promising not to touch it.

"There's a feeling now that since we have a surplus and since we've got to get ready for the baby boomers, that we really ought to try to spend as little of it as possible and none if possible," Gephardt said on ABC's This Week.

Davis wants a firmer commitment from the Democrats, saying that when the GOP says no to spending Social Security surpluses they mean no.

"No means no. That's the Republican position on using the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for bigger government," said the NRCC in a statement given to "No means maybe. That's the Democrat [sic] position on using the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for bigger government."