(WASHINGTON, DC) – In a letter to President Bush today, all nine Democratic Women Senators expressed their deep concern over news reports outlining President Bush's intention to include survivor benefit cuts in his Social Security privatization plan.

Signing the letter were Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Barbara Mikulski, Mary Landrieu, Hillary Clinton, Blanche Lincoln, Barbara Boxer, Debbie Stabenow and Dianne Feinstein.

The complete text of the letter appears below:

May 12, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Mr. President:

We write today to express deep concern at reports that, in addition to reducing benefits for an estimated 70 percent of all retirees, your Social Security privatization plan would actually cut benefits for the most vulnerable Americans you once said were safe: widows and survivors. Recent statements by your National Economic Council chairman, Allan Hubbard, said that your Administration's privatization plan for Social Security would jeopardize the safety net for children and widows. This news comes just a short time after you personally stated that you would protect these benefits.

As you know, Social Security is a critical piece of America's social safety net. For seven decades, the program has lifted millions of seniors out of poverty – a great deal of them women.

But it's more than just a program for retirees. It's a promise that if your spouse passes on, you will continue to receive support and security. Because survivors and widows can depend on benefits, it offers them hope in the face of great loss and tragedy. It is an earned benefit as part of the social compact.

Now this very economic life line is under attack. That is unconscionable and unacceptable, and we pledge to stand up against this assault on widows and children of this generation and the next.

The threat to economic security is real. Social Security provides monthly survivor benefits to 6.7 million Americans, almost 2 million of whom are children. This support allows these children to go to school and grow up knowing that they still have a chance to live the American dream. In addition, without Social Security, over half of all elderly women would live in poverty.

Mr. President, because Social Security plays such a crucial role in the financial security of women – not only in retirement, but throughout the life span – we stand united in opposition to your plan to imperil the future security and future of widows and survivors.

Social Security must be preserved and strengthened. Some things are just too important to American families. Don't break the promise Social Security keeps for millions of women and their families.


Barbara Mikulski
Patty Murray
Maria Cantwell
Mary Landrieu
Hillary Clinton
Blanche Lincoln
Barbara Boxer
Debbie Stabenow
Dianne Feinstein