WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- Republican leaders are warning the White House its Social Security reform agenda is in a political cul de sac and urging a partial retreat.
The Senate panel considering President Bush's proposed private investment accounts as a way to keep Social Security solvent lacks the necessary Republican votes to send the measure to the floor.
Thus House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., does not want his members to vote yes on the measure -- and risk losing re-election -- in what will be largely symbolic.
GOP leaders are telling the White House Democrats risk nothing by killing Social Security reform and not offering alternatives.
But White House spokesman Trent Duffy says the president wants action on Social Security reform this year and will assist the re-election bids of those who support him, the Washington Times reported Thursday.
Meanwhile, some Bush supporters say it's time to aim a little lower. For example, Sen. Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah, now plans to introduce a bill that excludes accounts but reduces scheduled benefits for all but the poorest wage earners.
"My sense is, let's get solvency going and make the argument for personal accounts on its own merit," he said.