Andrew Saul, Social Security Commissioner, has been fired by Joe Biden, the White House said. It also said that the president had accepted the resignation of deputy commissioner David Black. On condition of anonymity, an official told AP that both of them had been asked to resign. One of the Trump appointee’s obliged but the other refused so his services were terminated.
The White House researched the matter and a legal opinion from the Justice Department concluded that Saul could be removed from the post due to reevaluation of a recent Supreme Court ruling which allowed him to be fired by the president of the nation, at will.
Every administration wants to place its choices of people for different positions, to fulfill its policies and mandates. Most political appointees step down and resign when asked to but when they don’t, it seems that the Justice Department has found enough legal options to ensure that they get terminated.
Biden has given Kilolo Kijakazi, who is currently the deputy commissioner for retirement and disability policy in the agency, additional responsibility as acting commissioner while the Biden administration searches for a new commissioner and deputy commissioner who would be aligned with the policies of the current Democratic administration.
Republicans vociferously protested Saul’s removal as he had been appointed for a six-year term in 2019 and would have been in office till January 2025. He had won by a comfortable majority 77-16 in the Senate but the Democrats and the labor union that represents employees of the agency lauded the move to fire him.
Ralph de Julius, spokesperson for the American Federation of Government Employees SSA General Committee and Council 220 President said that the President had made the right decision by sending those “Trump appointees packing.” He also said that the Saul and Black leadership had lowered employee morale and agency operations.
The Social Security agency headquarters are in Baltimore. According to its website, it disburses benefits to 64 million people including retirees, widows, widowers, and children. Employers and employees pay a tax on wages and this tax is used by the agency to fund its beneficiaries. It employs about 60,000 people.
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