Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was confirmed Monday as the commissioner of the Social Security Administration in a 50-11 vote.

“Martin O’Malley’s extensive career in public service – including as Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland — has been underscored by transparency, accountability and progress. He will bring these same values to the Social Security Administration,” U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said. “Social Security is a critical insurance policy that tens of millions of working Americans pay into every year so that benefits can be there when they are older, disabled or leave young children after death. Martin is a dedicated public servant who understands what Social Security means to our seniors, disability and survivor beneficiaries, and I am proud to support his confirmation as Social Security Commissioner.”

President Joe Biden nominated O’Malley as commissioner of the Social Security Administration in July.

O’Malley will run one of the biggest social programs in the nation and grapple with the surrounding uncertainty over its funding. Roughly 70 million people — including retirees, disabled people and children — receive Social Security benefits.

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“Governor O’Malley is a lifelong public servant who has spent his career making government more accessible and transparent, while keeping the American people at the heart of his work,” Biden said in a statement. “As Governor, he made government work more effectively across his administration and enhanced the way millions of people accessed critical services.”

O’Malley served as Maryland’s governor from 2007 to 2015 and was Baltimore mayor for two terms. He also ran as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 but has ruled out running in the future.

The annual Social Security and Medicare trustees report released in March says the program’s trust fund will be unable to pay full benefits in about 10 years.

If the fund is depleted, the government will be able to pay only 80% of scheduled benefits, the report said.

Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, said her organization “applauds the nomination of Governor O’Malley, a longtime Social Security champion.”

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“Like President Biden, O’Malley supports expanding Social Security’s modest benefits, not cutting them.”

In October 2022, the agency announced that Social Security recipients would get an 8.7% boost in their benefits in 2023, a historic increase prompted by record-high inflation.

Social Security is financed by payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers. The maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll taxes for 2023 is $160,200, up from $147,000 in 2022.

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