Social Security Admin. Spends Nearly $1M on Trip

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It's a government agency that's supposed to be close to financial ruin, but that has not stopped the Social Security Administration from sending its executives on a luxurious retreat.

Tax dollars reportedly paid for a recent retreat at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix for nearly 700 executives.

The trip included an interactive performance by a motivational dance company that was caught on tape by a local news channel.

Some members of Congress are upset the financially troubled agency spent money on the retreat, but Social Security Administration officials say the session was justified.

"There is a tremendous amount of stress involved in the job that we do," said regional commissioner Peter Spencer.  "We receive threats against our employees by people who are in the American public-- threats against the individual employees [and]  threats against the entire office. -

Spencer added that the average cost for the retreat was about $1,000 per person-- meaning nearly  $700,000 in costs for the full conference.
rep. kevin brady/r texas 

"It's especially frustrating when you have people who truly are disabled, who will wait years just to get their case heard and years more just to get a little help," said Texas Rep. Kevin Brady.

ABC News reports the Phoenix retreat was one of a series of similar regional meetings.  They cost more than $1 million last year alone. 

Still, the Social Security Administration says such in-person meetings are essential.

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