Biden dismisses Andrew Saul, the Social Security Commissioner
According to a White House official, President Biden fired Trump-era Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul Friday morning for undermining and politicizing Social Security benefits.
The president requested Saul's and Deputy Commissioner David Black's resignations. Black agreed to resign, but Saul refused, and he was notified of his termination.
Saul's actions as commissioner were deemed "contrary" to the Social Security Administration's mission and to Mr. Biden's agenda by the Biden administration. The White House complained, among other things, that Saul terminated the SSA's telework policy, which was used by a quarter of its employees.
Mr. Biden has appointed Kilolo Kijakazi as acting commissioner pending the appointment of a commissioner and deputy commissioner. Kijakazi is currently the Social Security Administration's deputy commissioner for Retirement and Disability.
The Washington Post, which broke the story of Saul's dismissal first, spoke with Saul Friday afternoon. He told the Post that he would not resign because he believes the president lacks the authority to fire him, as the IRS, as an independent agency, does not typically change leadership with a new administration of a different political party. Saul was appointed by then-President Trump in 2019 to fill an expiring term and to serve in a new capacity until 2025.
The White House official, however, disputed Saul's assertion that Mr. Biden cannot fire him, stating, "Based on Supreme Court precedent, we believe the president has the authority to remove these officials." That is almost certainly a reference to the Supreme Court's opinion in a case involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent agency, in which the justices held that the agency's director "must be removable at the President's discretion."
Saul has not yet responded to a request for comment from CBS News. According to the Post, he intends to report to work on Monday from his home in New York.