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Hoyer Stands by Comments on Higher Retirement Age

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer reiterated Tuesday that raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits should be on the table as an option for cutting the deficit — even though some of his fellow Democrats have ripped the idea and groups have started airing ads against it.

“We believe the Social Security system is a good one and we intend to fully protect it,” the Maryland Democrat said. “We think that’s what the American people want.”

But Hoyer didn’t back away from a speech on fiscal responsibility he gave weeks ago where he floated increasing the Social Security retirement age.

“Age is one of the considerations that is obviously on the table,” Hoyer said. “It was in 1983” when the last major Social Security commission resulted in raising the retirement age to 67 .

“Everything needs to be on the table” including entitlements, defense spending and revenue, Hoyer said.

He sought to portray the split between the two parties on Social Security as one party being for privatization and the other against it rather than on the retirement age issue. Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also mentioned a higher retirement age as a possibility.

But many Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have criticized the idea, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other Democrats ripped Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for suggesting that the retirement age be raised to 70.

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