June 04, 2019

Van Hollen Statement for the Record on Confirmation of Andrew Saul

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) submitted the following statement for the congressional record on the nomination of Andrew Saul to be Commissioner of Social Security:

"I oppose the nomination of Andrew Saul to be Commissioner of Social Security. I am deeply concerned about the treatment of unions who represent workers at the Social Security Administration, and Mr. Saul declined to give meaningful assurances that anything will change under his leadership. Americans everywhere count on the federal employees of the Social Security Administration to ensure fairness and efficiency in the benefits provided by Social Security for retirees, people with disabilities, and surviving spouses and dependents.

The Social Security Administration demonstrated particular hostility towards its workforce in the way it implemented Executive Orders that were issued by President Trump on May 25, 2018, which would have undermined lawful civil service protections. Despite a court order striking down significant portions of these Executive Orders, management at the Social Security Administration has continued to insist on positions in collective bargaining agreements that closely mirror the invalidated Executive Orders. The Federal Service Impasses Panel recently imposed a contract on one of the unions representing Social Security workers that hews closely to the Executive Orders, including provisions to deny the union use of office space in government buildings and slash the official time available to the union to fulfill their statutory duties to represent workers.

When asked about these attacks on the rights of Social Security workers, Mr. Saul provided only vague statements that included no commitments to take meaningful action to improve labor practices at Social Security. Workers at the Social Security Administration – and the American people who are counting on Social Security – deserve better, and I hope Mr. Saul will prove me wrong by proactively engaging with his workforce and reversing the damage that has been done.