Bush Calls for Burying Social Security Death Benefit and Cutting Benefits

CAPITOL HILL --  President Bush and the Democrats are getting ready to do battle again over Social Security reform.

The president wants to end the $255 death benefit and eliminate the monthly survivor payment for 16 and 17-year-old high school dropouts. But Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer says the proposals show how "warped" Republican priorities are. House Democratic campaign committee chairman Rahm Emanuel says the Republican plan gives a "whole new meaning to the term `women and children first.'"

The White House say eliminating the survivor payment would increase the likelihood that 16 and 17-year olds would stay in school, increasing their chances of succeeding in life.

A Social Security spokesman says eliminating the $255 death benefit would not cause an "appreciable financial hardship" to a survivor.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.