The just-fired head of the Social Security Administration (SSA) is vowing to fight his termination in federal court.
Andrew Saul was appointed Social Security Commissioner by then-President Donald Trump in 2019 to a six-year term. He had previously refused President Joe Biden’s resignation request, although Biden had announced that he would continue to run the SSA during the early days of his administration.
“I consider myself the term-protected Commissioner of Social Security,” Saul told The Washington Post. He added that he will attempt to log in to work remotely on Monday, and threaten to sue if he can not do so.
“This was the first I or my deputy knew this was coming,” Saul said of his firing. “It was a bolt of lightning no one expected. And right now, it’s left the agency in complete turmoil.”
Deputy Commissioner David Black handed in his resignation upon request.
The White House is expected to cite a Supreme Court ruling that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was unconstitutional in defense of the firing. The Trump administration sued after an Obama-appointed official refused to step down. (RELATED: Leandra English Waves The White Flag In The Battle Over The CFPB)
“Since taking office, Commissioner Saul has undermined and politicized Social Security disability benefits, terminated the agency’s telework policy that was utilized by up to 25 percent of the agency’s workforce, not repaired SSA’s relationships with relevant Federal employee unions including in the context of COVID-19 workplace safety planning, reduced due process protections for benefits appeals hearings, and taken other actions that run contrary to the mission of the agency and the President’s policy agenda,” a White House official told The Post.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) July 9, 2021
Republicans slammed the firing, with Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell describing the removal as “an unprecedented and dangerous politicization of the Social Security Administration.”
Social Security Commissioner Saul has bipartisan backing / I’m hrg Pres Biden may oust him which wld b outrageous Saul was confirmed by Senate in 2019 w a vote of 77 to 16 to 6yr term that doesn’t expire til January 19, 2025/ DONT POLITICIZE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 9, 2021
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley tweeted that Saul’s firing was “outrageous.”
“Don’t politicize Social Security,” he added.