News Release

Brookings Scholar and Former House Member Bill Frenzel Appointed to Social Security Commission

May 4, 2001

Bill Frenzel, a guest scholar in the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (R-Minn, 1971-91), has been appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on a 16-member bipartisan Social Security commission.

The commission, introduced in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, is charged with submitting recommendations to the president by this fall on reforms to the Social Security program, including private investment accounts.

“The appointment of Bill Frenzel to advise the president on this important issue is a real tribute to Bill’s experience, knowledge, and commitment to policy reforms,” said Brookings president, Michael H. Armacost.

During his tenure in Congress, Frenzel served on the House Budget and House Administration Committees, where he was the ranking Republican member, and the House Ways and Means Trade subcommittee.

“Social Security is politically sensitive and Congress is highly resistant to Social Security changes,” said Frenzel after his appointment. “Nevertheless, the president is serious, and so is the commission. We’re going to give it our best.”

At Brookings, Frenzel has written and spoken on budget and fiscal policy, Congress, taxes, and trade. He has written extensively for the Brookings Review, the Institution’s quarterly journal, appeared as a panelist at Brookings forums, and written articles and opinion pieces for major publications.

Scholars at the Brookings Institution, including economists Henry Aaron, Barry Bosworth, Gary Burtless, and William Gale, have been engaged in the Social Security debate for years and their diverse research has contributed to the current discussion about reforms. Brookings has published several books on the issue, including Social Security and Medicare: Individual vs. Collective Risk and Responsibility, Countdown to Reform: The Great Social Security Debate, and Framing the Social Security Debate: Values, Politics, and Economics. Two upcoming books include The Evolving Pension System: Trends, Effects, and Proposals for Reform and The Future of Social Insurance: Incremental Action or Fundamental Reform.

Robert L. Johnson, a member of the Brookings Board of Trustees, was also appointed to the president’s Social Security commission. Johnson is the chairman and chief executive officer of the BET television network.

For a look at the Brookings Institution’s extensive research on Social Security, go to

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