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Reynolds called wary on private accounts Said to oppose Bush on Social Security

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, will advise House Republican leaders against trying to pass President Bush's plan to set up personal retirement accounts as part of a broad program to revise Social Security, a respected Capitol Hill newspaper is reporting.

Roll Call reported that Reynolds, who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told GOP colleagues that trying to make changes in Social Security could cripple his party in the 2006 elections.

Reynolds could not be reached to comment on the report.

The congressman, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, made the comments during a closed-door luncheon of Republican committee members.

Roll Call said that after Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., said he was determined to push the proposal, "Reynolds stood and said he would make the opposite argument to the leadership."

Reynolds told Thomas that there did not appear to be any chance that the Senate would pass the bill "and we'd be forcing our vulnerables to walk the plank for nothing," said a source familiar with Reynolds' comments.

Thomas refused to acknowledge the incident, saying, "I don't talk about closed-door meetings or what went on in closed-door meetings, and if someone who was in a closed-door meeting did, they're doing a great disservice to their colleagues."

Late Thursday, House Speaker Dennis Hastert told reporters that Reynolds spoke for himself.

"I think Tom Reynolds may have been talking about what his feelings are. Social Security is something very important. It's something we've talked about doing, and when we decide to move forward we'll let the press know."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

e-mail: dturner@buffnews.com

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