From a Federal Times article about backlogs and staffing problems at federal agencies (and note the use of "Democrat" rather than "Democratic", which Democratic Senators and Representatives would find annoying, as Astrue well knows, but apparently forgot while doing this interview, or maybe he just does not care):
Years of tight budgets have also hurt agencies. Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue described his agency as a victim of its own “reputation for competence”: Congress appropriated less than the president’s budget request for 12 of the last 14 years.That has forced the agency to reduce its staff of administrative law judges, who adjudicate claims for disability benefits. The agency is down from 1,200 such judges to almost 1,000, almost as low as during the mid-’90s.“It wasn’t a Republican thing or a Democrat thing. … It was easy to bleed us dry when they were fixing a problem someplace else,” Astrue said. “And our field office structure is under siege. We’ve maintained the same number of field offices, but the population [needing our services] has gone up, and Congress adds a significant new workload every year.”Among the recent new additions to the agency’s workload: processing claims under Medicare’s Part B insurance program and Part D drug plan, and verifying immigrants’ status through Social Security numbers.