In a June 10 news story describing Rep. John Kasich's Social Security plan, Amy Goldstein wrote that "Kasich's approach makes him the only Republican to design a plan for salvaging Social Security that features the traditionally Democratic idea of providing the greatest help to the poor." We welcome Rep. Kasich's initiative, but it is not the first Republican proposal to promote this idea.

A Senate bill -- sponsored by Republican Sens. Judd Gregg, Charles Grassley, Fred Thompson and Craig Thomas -- would alter the basic Social Security benefit formula. A House bill -- sponsored by Republican Reps. Jim Kolbe, Mark Sanford, Nick Smith, James Greenwood and Fred Upton -- would create a new minimum benefit. Each provision would increase the basic guaranteed Social Security benefit for low-income earners, upon which personal account income would be a pure bonus added to existing benefits.

Moreover, each plan provides savings matches to increase the value of personal account savings specifically for low-income earners. Additionally, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's plan is similar to the Kasich plan in giving low-income earners a larger contribution to their personal accounts from their current payroll taxes.

These plans have been in the public eye for some time. The National Commission on Retirement Policy, of which we were principal co-chairs, was the foundation for much of this legislative effort and was convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies more than two years ago.

Although we are grateful for the collaborative efforts that we have received from a number of courageous Democratic colleagues, we hope that The Post will begin to note the progressive Social Security reform measures that have already been "designed" by many Republican legislators.

JUDD GREGG

U.S. Senator (R-N.H.)

JIM KOLBE

U.S. Representative (R-Ariz.)

Washington