WASHINGTON — The Democratic chairmen of two House panels are scrutinizing a State Department plan to overhaul Social Security that they say unfairly takes away Americans’ entitlement benefits in exchange for a quick cash payment.
The policy proposal, known as the Eagle Plan, is one of the options that has circulated in the Trump administration to address concerns about the ballooning national debt due to massive federal spending to combat the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Representatives Joaquin Castro, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and John Larson, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security, sent a letter Thursday to a State Department official asking for the ‘‘complete and unredacted’’ version of the plan, a list of the individuals who contributed to it, and any other related documents.
The proposal, first reported by The Washington Post, calls for giving Americans $10,000 upfront in exchange for curbing their federal retirement benefits, such as Social Security.
The two lawmakers wrote that during this ‘‘moment of crisis,’’ the United States should be enhancing Social Security, ‘‘not developing policies to reduce benefits.’’
‘‘The idea that you would ask individual Americans to sell out their hard-earned retirement security as the price of desperately needed help during a crisis is unacceptable,’’ they said. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, was sent to undersecretary Keith Krach.
A State Department spokeswoman said that ‘‘we do not comment on congressional correspondence.’’
The Eagle Plan is unusual in that it originated from the State Department, an agency responsible for creating and implementing foreign policy, not domestic policy.
A copy of the plan obtained by the Post says it was written by Paul Touw, chief strategy officer to Krach. Krach is close to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser. Kushner and Krach traveled together in January on the presidential delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.