After the official refused resignation, President Joe Biden fired the Commissioner of Social Security. The White House announced that Biden accepted the resignation of the deputy commissioner.
Biden requested that Andrew Saul, the commissioner, resign. A White House official stated that his employment was terminated on Friday after he refused to comply with the Democratic president’s request.
David Black, Deputy Commissioner, agreed to resign. The official spoke under anonymity in order to discuss personnel issues.
These officials were appointed by President Donald Trump (a Republican).
Biden appointed Kilolo Kijakazi acting commissioner, while the administration searches for a permanent and deputy commissioner.
Kijakazi is currently the Social Security Administration’s deputy commissioner for retirement, disability and policy.
Saul was removed following a Justice Department legal opinion. This came despite the fact that he cannot be fired for neglecting duties or malfeasance.
This opinion was compiled at the White House’s request. It concluded that Saul could be fired at will by President Obama after a reevaluation due to a Supreme Court decision.
The Democratic senator in charge of confirming Saul’s successor, Senator Biden, supported Biden’s action immediately. Republican lawmakers accused Biden, accusing him of politicizing the agency, and pointed out Saul’s confirmation in 2019 by a bipartisan Senate vote.
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, stated in a statement, “Every president should choose the personnel that will best fulfill their vision for the country.”
Wyden stated, “To fulfill President Biden’s bold vision for improving Social Security and expanding it, he needs to have his people in control,” Wyden said, promising to work quickly to confirm a new Commissioner.
D-N.J. Rep. Bill Pascrell celebrated Friday’s firings after he began demanding the ouster Saul and Black several months prior.
Pascrell stated that “Social Security” is in “deep trouble.”
Senator Mike Crapo from Idaho, the top Republican in the finance committee, and Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the top Republican in the House Ways and Means Committee issued a joint statement describing Biden’s decision as “disappointing.” They claimed that Social Security beneficiaries have the most to lose due to President Biden’s partisan decision to fire Commissioner Andrew Saul.
Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the personnel move an “unprecedented, dangerous politicization” of the Social Security Administration.
According to its website, the agency is based in Baltimore and pays benefits to 64 million people. This includes retirees, children and widowers. About 60,000 people work for the agency.
Saul was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 77-16 in 2019, to a six year term that would have ended in January 2025. Tweet Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
The firings were also welcome by the labor union representing Social Security workers.
Ralph de Juliis, spokesperson of the American Federation of Government employees SSA General Committee President and Council 220 president, stated that employee morale had been affected and agency operations had suffered due to Black and Saul’s leadership.
De Juliis stated that “President Biden made a right decision to send these Trump appointees packing.”