AARP, the powerful lobbying group for older Americans, is dropping its longstanding opposition to cutting Social Security benefits, a move that could rock Washington's debate over how to revamp the nation's entitlement programs.
The Wall Street Journal reported in a lengthy piece on Friday that the decision, which AARP hasn't discussed publicly, came after a wrenching debate inside the organization. As the paper noted, in 2005, the last time Social Security was debated, AARP led the effort to kill President George W. Bush's plan for partial privatization. AARP now has concluded that change is inevitable, and it wants to be at the table to try to minimize the pain.
"The ship was sailing. I wanted to be at the wheel when that happens," John Rother (right), AARP's long-time policy chief, told The Journal.
The shift has been vetted by AARP's board and is now the group's stance, and could have a dramatic effect on the debate surrounding the future of the federal safety net.