Compared to health care law, passing Social Security was a breeze

Today’s 230-189 vote defunding the new health care law sets up a confrontation in the Senate next week as politicians play chicken with the nation’s economy and risk a government shutdown over the ongoing dissatisfaction some pols have with the law.

The House has already voted to repeal the law 40 times, in an opposition the likes of which the country has never seen before on a major domestic bill.

Social Security? People often compare Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation with Obama’s, but those days were easy.

A letter in the Star Tribune today attempted to draw a familiar parallel:

In 1936, Republican presidential candidate Alf Landon ran against Franklin Roosevelt, and his campaign was focused almost entirely on repealing Social Security, which he claimed was “corrupt, unconstitutional, hostile to business and mired in waste and inefficiency.” Does any of this sound familiar?

But the truth is when it came to Congress, Social Security was a slam dunk.

Here’s the vote:

Source: Social Security Administration

372-33. You can’t even get a vote like that on a bill naming a post office these days. In 1935, Democrats controlled the House with 313 seats. Today, of course, Republicans control it with 234.

And the Senate? It breezed through. 77-6:

Source: Social Security Administration

There were 59 Democrats in the Senate in 1935.

Today’s letter writer pointed out that after Social Security passed, the Republican presidential candidate, Al Landon, ran against Roosevelt mostly on the notion of repealing Social Security.

He got crushed.