Greenspan Commission Language on Independent Agency

The Greenspan Commission took a much less forceful position on the independent agency issue, calling only for a study of the issue, but expressing a clear preference for independence.

(from the Findings and Recommendations section of the Report)

Social Security Administration as an Independent Agency

(22) The majority of the members of the National Commission believes -- as a broad, general principle -- that it would be logical to have the Social Security Administration be a separate independent agency, perhaps headed by a bi-partisan board. The National Commission recommends that a study should be made as to the feasibility of doing this.*

The Social Security Administration is now part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Its fiscal operations and the size of its staff are larger than those of the remainder of the Department combined.

The National Commission has not had the time to look into the various complex issues involved in such an administrative reorganization and, therefore, recommends that a study group should be formed to look into this matter. Issues involved include whether the leadership of such an independent agency should be assigned to a single individual or whether there should be a governing board of several members, selected on a bi-partisan basis, and whether the operations of the Medicare program should be included in such an independent agency, or whether they should remain as a subsidiary agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, as at present.

* See additional views of Commissioners Ball, Keys, Kirkland, Moynihan, and Pepper in Chapter 4.



Commissioners Robert M. Ball, Martha Keys, Lane Kirkland, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Claude Pepper (members selected by the Democratic leadership of the Congress)

Social Security as an Independent Agency

We believe that it would improve the operation of the Social Security system and strengthen public confidence in the integrity of the program if it were administered as an independent agency under a bi-partisan Board as it was in the early days of the program. We do not believe that an in-depth study is necessary, but rather any study should be confined to the details of implementation.