President Biden dismissed the Social Security head on Friday after the official refused to quit, and the deputy commissioner’s resignation has also been accepted by Biden according to the White House.
Biden requested Andrew Saul, the commissioner to quit, and his job was terminated as he refused, a White House official said.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel issues, said David Black, the Deputy Commissioner, has agreed to quit.
Both individuals were appointed by Republican President Donald Trump.
Kilolo Kijakazi was appointed interim commissioner by Biden as the administration searched for a permanent commissioner and deputy commissioner.
Kijakazi is presently the Social Security Administration’s deputy commissioner for disability and retirement policies.
Saul’s dismissal was based on a Justice Department legal opinion that he may be dismissed notwithstanding a law that states he can be fired only for neglect of duty or misconduct.
The opinion, which was studied at the White House’s request, found that a reevaluation in light of a recent Supreme Court decision indicated that Saul may be dismissed at the president’s discretion.
Biden’s decision was immediately endorsed by the Democratic senator who would be responsible for approving Saul’s replacement. Republican legislators accused Biden of politicising the agency, citing Saul’s bipartisan Senate confirmation in 2019.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a statement that each president should choose people who will best carry out their agenda for the nation.
Wyden said that to carry out President Biden’s ambitious agenda for strengthening and extending Social Security, he needs his people in charge, promising to work quickly to approve a new commissioner.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., who started calling for Saul and Black’s removal many months ago, hailed their Friday firings.
Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the finance committee’s ranking Republican, and Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the House Ways and Means Committee’s ranking Republican, released a joint statement calling Biden’s decision “disappointing.” According to the duo, Social Security recipients stand to suffer the most as a result of President Biden’s political decision to dismiss Commissioner Andrew Saul.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described the staff change as an unprecedented and dangerous politicisation of the Social Security Administration.
The organisation, which is based in Baltimore, provides benefits to about 64 million individuals, including retirees, children, widows, and widowers, according to its website. The agency employs about 60,000 people.
Saul was approved to a six-year term in January 2025 by a Senate vote of 77-16, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted.
Additionally, the trade organisation representing Social Security workers applauded the firings.
Ralph de Juliis, spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees’ SSA General Committee and President of Council 220, said that under Saul and Black’s leadership, staff morale and agency operations deteriorated.
De Juliis said that President Biden made the correct decision in removing these Trump appointees.