ICYMI: WAPO: House GOP eyes Social Security, Medicare amid spending battle

“House Republicans have started to weigh a series of legislative proposals targeting Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, part of a broader campaign to slash federal spending…”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As The Washington Post reported this morning, the MAGA Republicans running the House are threatening devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and more as a key part of their agenda.

Key excerpts from the article include:
“House Republicans have started to weigh a series of legislative proposals targeting Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, part of a broader campaign to slash federal spending that could force the new majority to grapple with some of the most difficult and delicate issues in American politics.”

“Only weeks after taking control of the chamber, GOP lawmakers under new Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have rallied around firm pledges for austerity, insisting their efforts can improve the nation’s fiscal health. They have signaled they are willing to leverage the fight over the debt ceiling — and the threat of a fiscal doomsday — to seek major policy concessions from the Biden administration.”

““We have no choice but to make hard decisions,” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), the leader of the Republican Study Committee, a bloc of more than 160 conservative lawmakers that endorsed raising the retirement age and other changes last year. “Everybody has to look at everything.””

“Any plan to rethink entitlements is likely to face steep opposition in the Democratic-led Senate and may never gain meaningful traction even among other Republicans in the House. Adding to the political challenge, former president Donald Trump waded into the debate Friday, warning his party publicly against cutting “a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.””

“Democrats, meanwhile, have been unsparing in their criticisms, saying millions of Americans could see their benefits cut at the hands of the new House GOP majority. President Biden has stressed he will not negotiate such a deal with Republicans, as he prepares to discuss a raft of fiscal issues with McCarthy in the coming days. “This is something that should be done without conditions, and we should not be taking hostage key programs that the American people really earned and care about — Social Security, Medicare, it should not be put in a hostage situation,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday.”

““We need to be taking this very, very seriously, and the tragic thing is, everybody knows it,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), a top lawmaker on the tax-focused House Ways and Means Committee, lamenting the state of Social Security and Medicare.”

“But, Buchanan said, the early political sniping around the issue threatens to make any meaningful overhaul impossible. He stressed the two parties have to work together, or else Republicans could face a political drubbing if they forge ahead on their own. “It’s a good way to get fired quickly,” he said.”

“Social Security and Medicare are funded through payroll taxes collected from employers and employees. The programs are popular, and for many Americans, they are a financial lifeline: In 2022, an average of 66 million seniors received a Social Security check each month, according to the federal government; more than 59 million people are enrolled in a Medicare plan, recent private estimates show.”

““You don’t get out of our current situation without tackling entitlement programs,” said Rachel Greszler, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, noting the country is getting “closer and closer to the date of insolvency.””

For questions or additional commentary, please contact [email protected]