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We call this NTEU's "Service Now" Initiative, and it calls for an additional 5,650 full-time equivalent positions (FTE) costing $183 million. In addition, we have allowed 172 FTE recognized but unfunded in previous budgets for SSI outreach. We have also raised the contingency reserve from $50 to $100 million. This is essential in view of the more rapid than expected growth SSA has been experiencing in some workloads, and the likely need for additional funds for locality pay and training.
NTEU's total additions to the budget request come to 5,822 FTE and $238 million. Our recommended budget for SSA in FY 1992 is $4.77 billion and 70,352 FTE. We believe that by approving our proposal, which keeps administrative costs at a little over 1 percent of trust fund benefit payments, Congress will be signalling to the American people that they will once again have an open, responsive, and efficient Service. Congress will be signalling to SSA's employees that they have a future in a rejuvenated Service that will adequately compensate, train, and reward its people.
In the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, Congress removed Social Security from the Federal budget. The Congressional Budget Office interprets this as moving SSA's salaries and expenses (the Limitation on Administrative Expenses account) off-budget and therefore not subject to the spending ceilings of the budget agreement. OMB disagrees and has thus far retained SSA under the ceiling for domestic discretionary spending. We agree with CBO and urge Congress to clarify this matter at the earliest opportunity. SSA's budget should be based on the needs of the American people, and not on arbitrary budget caps.
SSA should have its eyes set on confronting the challenges of the decade ahead and the next century; it should not be held hostage to the political exigencies of the moment. For this reason, NTEU supports the establishment of a Social Security Service as an independent agency headed by a professional manager with full personnel and budget authority to accomplish the agency's mission of service to the American people.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my statement. Are there any questions?
SSA Budget Request for FY 1992 and NTEU Recommendation*
FTE'S (Average Positions)
*Limitation on Administrative Expenses
** 'Includes resources for processing Zebley claims
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET FOR FY 1992 AND NTEU RECOMMENDATION
Excluding St. Elizabeth's Hospital
Includes Direct Appropriation and Working Capital Fund
Limitation on Administrative Expenses
For Departmental Management, NTEU includes $1,390,000 to cover 100 percent of the January, 1992 pay raise in lieu of the 50 percent absorption required in the budget.
For Office of Civil Rights, NTEU restores a staff cut of 5 FTE and $126,000, and eliminates a $264,000 absorption of 1992 personnel costs.
For SSA, NTEU adds $55.3 million and 172 FTE to restore the contingency rserve to $100 million and to cover unfunded work in the SSI outreach program. NTEU also adds $183.3 million and 5,650 FTE for a "Service Now" Initiative to restore an effective SSA and provide improvements in several areas of weakness identified by GAO and OIG. These additions are justified in a separate statement which NTEU has submitted on SSA.
For Family Support Administration, $5,148,528 and 112 FTE are provided to
For HCFA, NTEU restores a reductions in research, contractor contingency, and
For OHDS, NTEU adds 200 FTE and $9.7 million to the budget request in addition to Administration's proposed increase of 124 FTE. The components of OHDS remain seriously understaffed and unable to exercise proper Federal oversight of millions of dollars provided to states to deal with major social problems, especially the growing child welfare cases. OIG has found OHDS administration of 1,800 research contracts to be ineffectual and has declared this to be an area of significant weakness. The additional resources are needed to deal with the agency's growing responsibilities for Children's Programs including expansion of Head Start.
For HRSA, NTEU restores reductions totaling $233.9 million and 327 FTE for
For CDC, NTEU adds $5.5 million and 100 FTE to overcome weakness in AIDS public
For the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, NTEU restores
For Office of Assistant Secretary for Health, NTEU restores reductions totaling
Senator HARKIN. Mr. Tobias, thank you. I can assure you that we have already started that process. I can tell you publicly that I am not satisfied with it, that the things that you have pointed out are coming. There is nothing we can do to stop the aging of Americans and more claims, and this request simply does not address it.
Your statement indicates that the President's budget will require nearly doubling the backlog of disability claims. Is the $25,960,000 you recommend sufficient to prevent a growing backlog of disability claims?
Mr. TOBIAS. Yes; we think it is. We think it will start the process of reducing that backlog and keeping the SSA more current. That is basically what the whole issue is about.
We also believe that the issue of funding is so important, Senator Harkin. The issue of whether or not it is on budget or off budget is subject to the discretionary spending limits or not, and if it is off budget, we believe it will be much easier, of course, for Congress to allocate the necessary funds rather than if it is under those discretionary limits.
Senator HARKIN. So you are in favor of taking the administrative costs of Social Security and moving it off budget just like the rest of Social Security?
Mr. TOBIAS. And as CBO believes Congress did last year when it took the SSA off budget. CBO believes that. OMB, not surprisingly, says no. We believe that the language is clear on its face. In the statute there is some fuzzy conference language. In the tight fiscal times, if we could solve this problem, I think that it would be easier to meet the needs that we have identified.
Senator HARKIN. A number of groups are asking for $10 million. to fund counseling programs to assist older Americans in understanding and purchasing Medicare supplemental insurance. You have a lot of problems out there.
Do you support funding this newly authorized initiative?
Mr. TOBIAS. Yes; we certainly do, and part of our funding initiative is to hire staff in an outreach effort to assist that program.
Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Tobias.
Mr. TOBIAS. Thank you very much, Senator Harkin.
Senator HARKIN. We have your testimony, and we will do our best on this.
Mr. TOBIAS. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF KENNETH L. EATON, THE ALCOHOL AND DRUG PROBLEMS ASSOCIATION
Senator HARKIN. Now we have Kenneth L. Eaton with the Alcohol and Drug Problems Association.
Mr. EATON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Senator HARKIN. Thank you for your patience.
Mr. EATON. Since my adult and professional life began in the wonderful State of Iowa, I continue to get lots of vicarious pleasure seeing them return the distinguished Senator to Washington, DC, and loan your talents to those of us
Senator HARKIN. What part of Iowa are you from?
Mr. EATON. From Decorah and Des Moines.