JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal firearms official says the agency never sought or received a list of Missouri concealed gun permit holders.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agency was not involved in an effort by the Social Security Administration to obtain the information.
Missouri senators have publicized an email from a state crime analyst indicating that the Social Security Administration wanted a "comprehensive list" of concealed gun permit holders as part of a "joint venture" with the ATF.
But ATF spokesman Mike Campbell says there was no joint venture and his agency never asked for or received the Missouri information.
A Social Security official confirmed Wednesday that the agency had no plans to involve the ATF in its investigation.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is proposing cuts to Social Security as an attempt to compromise with Republicans on the budget.
A senior administration official says the budget Obama will offer to Congress next Wednesday would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years. It includes a revised inflation adjustment called "chained CPI" that would curb cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs.
The senior administration official stressed it is not the president's preferred approach but a compromise proposal to try to reach a long-term budget deal. Obama first made the offer to House Speaker John Boehner last year.
The official spoke on a condition of anonymity since the budget has yet to be released. Technically, the administration actually would be limiting the growth of Social Security.
Instead of making the hard choices to fix Social Security's financial problems, policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric," Astrue said.
Astrue, 56, has headed the federal government's largest program since 2006 — he was nominated by former President George W. Bush. By law, Social Security commissioners serve six-year terms, so President Barack Obama will now have the opportunity to choose his own nominee, who must be approved by the Senate. Astrue's last day on the job was Wednesday.
The trustees who oversee Social Security say the program's trust funds will run dry in 2033, leaving Social Security with only enough revenue to pay about 75 percent of benefits. Already the program is paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes.
As commissioner, Astrue served as a trustee. He regularly urged Congress to address Social Security's long-term financial problems but refrained from publicly weighing in on various options to cut benefits or raise taxes — until now.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Astrue said benefit cuts and tax increases are inevitable — despite fierce opposition to both. Yet he questions whether Congress is up to the task.