Huffpost Politics
Ryan Grim Headshot

Alan Simpson Accepts Social Security Debate Challenge

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), a leading voice in the argument over the future of Social Security, has agreed to debate progressive critics who argue that the program can be reformed and strengthened without reducing future benefits.

The debate challenge was issued by a collection of young people associated with the liberal group Social Security Works, and delivered in a YouTube video provided to HuffPost.

Responding to the challenge, Simpson told HuffPost he wouldn't debate the group if it insisted on characterizing his position as in favor of cuts, but if the conversation was centered on the 75-year solvency of the program, he was willing to do it.

Simpson was the co-chair of the so-called Simpson-Bowles Commission, along with Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles, a former top Democrat with the Clinton administration.

"All they have to do is read the [Bowles-Simpson] report and it tells you exactly what we plan to do with Social Security. It's very clear. If they'll read the report, then I'll talk to them. I want them to read the 67-page report, especially what it says about Social Security and making it solvent for people their age," Simpson said. "But if they want to know how to save the system so that when they're 65 they won't get a check for 25 percent less, yes, I can try to help them."

The young advocates challenging Simpson on Social Security say in the video that they have read the Bowles-Simpson report. (Its section on Social Security is short.)

The report did not receive the required number of votes from commission members to move forward to Congress, though it has been politically resurrected in recent months.

The controversial and plainspoken Simpson said he was worried that the debate was "just gonna be a bunch of emotional claptrap" but emphasized again that he was willing to do it.

Simpson's willingness to debate shouldn't come as a surprise, as the Wyoming Republican rarely shies away from defending his position. In the past, he has engaged HuffPost over the question of life expectancy and its relationship to the funding gap for programs like Social Security.

No date or venue has yet been set for the debate. But if it's anything like Simpson's typical performance, it'll be entertaining, and perhaps enlightening.
Look through some of Simpson's history of colorful statements below:

Stuff Alan Simpson Says
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Around the Web

Alan Simpson Tells Seniors Battling Social Security Cuts 'Why Don't ...

Social Security: Alan Simpson offends almost everyone with 'cow' quip

Eric Kingson: An Open Letter About Alan Simpson's Recent Comments

An Open Letter About Alan Simpson's Recent Comments

Alan Simpson is more wrong than ever on Social Security

Letter: Alan Simpson needs 'intervention'

HUFFPOST HILL - Mean White House Insults Poland, Wisconsin

US lawmakers work with Simpson-Bowles for tax deal

Alan Simpson says Social Security protecters are full of blather and drivel

Simpson Says His Social Issue Views Make Him a RINO

Alan Simpson: Chaos in Congress after presidential election

 
  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results
Register To Vote