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Washington in brief

Report: Social Security not quite so broke

By wire services
Published June 12, 2004

An election-year duel over President Bush's proposal to revamp Social Security could flare up again Monday with a congressional report that says the giant pension program's long-term prospects may be better than previously thought.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will say that over the long run, Social Security remains unsustainable at current levels of benefits and payroll taxes, the Associated Press reported, quoting Capitol Hill aides who spoke anonymously.

Yet the report is expected to project that the system's shortfall over the next 75 years will be only about two-thirds the $3.7-trillion estimated last March by the bipartisan trustees who oversee Social Security, the aides said Friday. The discrepancies are due to differing economic and other assumptions, they said.

This means Social Security's 2042 insolvency, as projected by the trustees, would occur about a decade later, the aides said. The aides differed, however, about whether the budget office report would predict a later insolvency date or whether the data would simply support that conclusion.

Challenge to Bush's judge denied on a technicality

ATLANTA - Sen. Edward Kennedy lost a legal challenge to President Bush's "recess appointment" of former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to a federal appeals judgeship.

In a challenge filed with the 11th Court, Kennedy argued that the appointment was unconstitutional because the Senate was merely adjourned, not on recess.

But the appeals court said Kennedy missed an April 28 deadline for filing his challenge. The court did not comment on the constitutionality of Pryor's appointment.

Kennedy spokesman David Smith said Bush misused power to appoint a nominee the Senate had twice shot down, defying the constitutional separation of powers.

Sept. 11 commission to hold last hearing

The chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff and the prosecutor handling charges against suspected Sept. 11 terrorists in Germany will testify next week in the final hearing of the commission investigating the attacks.

Scheduled to testify in addition to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, are top law enforcement and intelligence experts on al-Qaida, including Matthias Krauss, who is handling the prosecution of the al-Qaida cell in Hamburg, Germany; and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who prosecuted alleged terrorists in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

[Last modified June 11, 2004, 23:46:13]


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