May 28, 1999

House of Representatives Passes H.R. 1259, the Social Security and Medicare Safe Deposit Box Act of 1999

On May 26, 1999, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1259, the Social Security and Medicare Safe Deposit Box Act of 1999, commonly referred to as the "Social Security lockbox" by a vote of 416 to 12. The key provisions of this bill:

  • Would allocate all Social Security surpluses towards saving Social Security and Medicare by using such surpluses to reduce debt held by the public until Social Security and Medicare reform is enacted. The bill would prohibit the use of Social Security surpluses for any purpose other than reforming Social Security and Medicare.
  • Would provide that it is not in order in the House or Senate to consider concurrent resolutions on the budget or any other legislation that would set forth an on-budget deficit for any fiscal year. This "point of order" provision would not apply to Social Security reform legislation or Medicare reform legislation as defined in this bill.
  • Would provide that any official statement/publication of the surpluses or deficit totals of the U.S. Government, as issued by the Office of Management and Budget or the Congressional Budget Office, shall exclude outlays and receipts of the OASDI program. Separate Social Security budget documents showing OASDI outlays and receipts would be required.
  • A supermajority of 60 percent of each House of Congress would be required to override the provisions of the bill.

The provisions of H.R. 1259 would be effective beginning with Fiscal Year 2000 and would end upon the enactment of Social Security and Medicare reform legislation.