- The White House fired Andrew Saul, the Social Security head, on Friday evening.
- Democrats and advocates charged the agency with gumming up stimulus checks for disabled people.
- Democrats cheered the firings.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and his top deputy on Friday afternoon. The pair of Trump appointees had triggered fierce criticism from Democrats and advocates for gumming up the speedy distribution of stimulus checks to disabled Americans and applying union-busting tactics with labor unions representing federal employees.
The Washington Post reported Saul, 74, was fired after he refused to resign. His deputy David Black turned in his resignation upon request, The Post reported.
Saul disputed the White House’s ability to remove him. His six-year tenure was supposed to end in 2025, and Social Security heads are not switched out when a new administration takes power. But the administration appeared to draw from a recent Supreme Court ruling for authority to replace him.
The White House did not immediately respond to comment.
Saul is a former GOP donor who served on the board of a conservative think-tank that advocated for cuts to Social Security benefits. Advocates said the Social Security Administration delayed releasing information to the IRS for stimulus checks earlier this year.
Congressional Democrats and activists cheered the firings. Alex Lawson, president of Social Security Works, told Insider it was “great news” Saul and Black are no longer in charge of the agency.
“They were put in place by former President Trump to sabotage Social Security and no one but Wall Street is sad to see them go,” he said. “Their attacks on seniors and people with disabilities will be their shameful legacy.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio also praised the move. The Banking committee chair said in a statement Saul “tried to systematically dismantle Social Security as we know it from within.”
“Social Security is the bedrock of our middle class that Americans earn and count on, and they need a Social Security Commissioner who will honor that promise to seniors, survivors, and people with disabilities now and for decades to come,” Brown said.
This story will be updated.
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