In their annual report, the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds today announced extended solvency dates for these two vital programs. Medicare is now expected to remain solvent for four additional years - until 2029, and Social Security is expected to be solvent for one additional year - until 2028. For the fourth year in a row, the trustees have extended the life of these vital retirement initiatives.

This good news shows the importance of fiscal responsibility and debt reduction.

Social Security and Medicare have become stronger and more solvent because of the hard work of the American people and because of the fiscally responsible budgets we passed, beginning in 1993. Because we got our finances under control and have started to pay down our debt, we are strengthening these important programs.

Unfortunately, if President Bush ignores this evidence, and continues to promote a tax cut, it will lead us back to higher deficits and prevent us from paying off the debt. In fact, President Bush's budget also takes money already promised to Medicare and uses it to pay for his tax cut and spending proposals. This is the wrong approach.

In light of the Trustees Report, I hope President Bush will reexamine his irresponsible tax plan, and for the sake of current and future retirees, continue to pay down the debt. I urge President Bush to remove the Medicare Trust Fund surplus from his so called "contingency fund" and use those Medicare dollars for Medicare only.