(CNSNews.com) - A comment Monday by White House spokesman Joe Lockhart about Republicans and the Social Security surplus has irritated House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
At the daily news briefing, Lockhart said, "I read everyday and I see everyday, coming from Capitol Hill, Republican after Republican saying we're not spending the Social Security surplus, when the budget office says they are."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert Tuesday accused Lockhart of perpetuating a "myth."
In a statement from Capitol Hill, Hastert said Lockhart's "latest fiction is that we have spent $46 billion of the Social Security surplus, an imaginary number pulled either from thin air or from the White House wish list. [The Congressional Budget Office] has not concluded that we have dipped into Social Security for any amount, because we have not dipped into Social Security."
Continued Hastert, "In fact, CBO's only accurate analysis thus far is that in 1999, we did not dip into Social Security."
Hastert believes the latest White House confusion come from a plan, Hastert says, that was formulated by Rep. John Spratt (D-SC), ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. Hastert said he believes that "Mr. Spratt made some assumptions about what our end product would be, shipped it off to the Congressional Budget Office and got the answer he was looking for. As a loyal Democrat, Mr. Spratt assumed that we would dip into Social Security, because it is what his party has done for the last thirty years."
Hastert reiterated that Republicans have not dipped into Social Security in Fiscal Year 1999 nor will they in Fiscal Year 2000. "Joe Lockhart has it wrong. Joe, it ain't so. We haven't dipped into Social Security and we aren't going to allow the President to raid Social Security to pay for his big spending programs."