ICYMI: MAGA House Advocates New Panels To Cut Social Security, Medicare As Part Of Default Deal

“I wouldn’t think it’d be off the table,” Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) on panels advocating cuts to Social Security, Medicare 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of anticipated remarks from Speaker McCarthy regarding default negotiations this evening, Bloomberg recently reported that House Republicans are pushing to create panels to consider cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of their quest to gut the popular and life-saving programs that millions of Americans depend on. This news calls into question Speaker McCarthy’s prior dismissals of the idea that the programs could face cuts in default negotiations.

For additional commentary from House Accountability War Room senior advisor Zac Petkanas, contact [email protected].

Key excerpts from Bloomberg: Republicans Eye Debt Deal for Social Security, Medicare Panels:

“House Republicans have offered two bills to create panels to consider future legislation to shore up the solvency of entitlement programs — the Trust Act and the Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act — as possible parts of a debt-limit deal. While McCarthy (R-Calif.) has broadly said cuts to Social Security or Medicare are off the table in debt-limit talks, and downplayed the value of fiscal commissions, those members say their plans haven’t been ruled out.”

“The discussion about creating commissions indicates some policy proposals floated by Republicans on entitlements — such as increasing the eligibility age or adding means-testing measures — are a possibility, even as GOP leaders say they’re not negotiating policy changes directly as part of a debt-limit vote.”

“Hern’s caucus released a list of proposals last week to reduce the deficit as part of a possible debt-limit deal. Those proposals didn’t call for changes to Social Security or Medicare. But Hern said the creation of a bipartisan panel to negotiate policy changes to extend the solvency of those programs could still be part of debt-limit negotiations.”

“After a meeting with President Joe Biden last week, McCarthy was dim on the creation of a commission, saying it would only state the obvious. “I don’t need a commission to tell me where there’s waste, fraud, and abuse,” McCarthy told reporters at the White House. “I don’t need a commission to tell us where we’re spending too much.””

“But lawmakers including Hern say that doesn’t rule out creating a commission to make recommendations about the programs’ longevity. A point of discussion could also be an increase in the age of eligibility — delayed significantly in the future, so it doesn’t hurt people near retirement, Hern said. House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), a cosponsor of the TRUST Act in previous congresses, said he sees a commission as a method of getting to comity that’s worked before, pointing to the 1983 negotiations between then-President Ronald Reagan (R) and House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.).”

“The Texas Republican said he also plans to ask McCarthy whether commissions remain on the table during a meeting this week to discuss the debt ceiling and prepare a budget resolution. He’s said he aims to pass a resolution out of his panel by April. The measure would set parameters on how the GOP would project to eliminate the federal deficit within 10 years.”

“House Rules Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) voiced support last week for overhauling one program, like extending the solvency of Social Security, as part of a debt limit deal. Cole didn’t rule out any potential outcomes from a commission, noting the discussions between O’Neill and Reagan led to a bevy of new provisions, including some tax changes.”

“He said he’s not sure if McCarthy cooled to the idea of creating a commission, but he continues to advocate for it. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Cole discussed the idea with the House Republican Conference, but he wasn’t sure leadership was open to the idea as part of a debt-limit deal.”

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