With election day just over two weeks away, Democrats are ramping up attacks on Republicans over their plans to change Social Security and Medicare.
GOP leaders have said the programs need to be reformed or risk going bankrupt, though they have avoided specifics about proposed changes, and have said they will play hardball with government funding should they retake the majority.
President Biden in a speech on Friday accused Republicans of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, and said he “will not yield” in protecting the programs. He said in a tweet on Sunday that the GOP was threatening to tank the economy over the issue.
“Republican leaders have made it clear they will crash the economy by putting the United States in default unless we yield to their demand to cut Social Security and Medicare,” Biden said in the tweet. “And that’s more than a promise. It’s a threat,”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) has accused Democrats of twisting his comments in an interview during which he discussed both preparing for debt ceiling fights and plans to “strengthen” Social Security and Medicare.
But that didn’t stop Democrats from continuing to hammer the GOP over its pledge to make changes to the crucial program, which is a particular priority for older voters.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday said Social Security and Medicare are among a number of matters “on the line” in this year’s election.
“The Republicans have said that if they win, they want to subject Medicare, Social Security, health blackmail, to lifting the debt ceiling… So Social Security and Medicare are on the line, a woman’s right to choose is on the line, the planet is on the line, issues that relate to prescription drugs,” Pelosi said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
An AARP survey released this month found Social Security and Medicare in the top five issues for voters age 50+ in determining how they’ll cast their midterm ballot. And voters in that same age bracket were among the most motivated to vote, and largely undecided.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) weighed in on Twitter Sunday, saying that Republicans are “already plotting” to slash the programs if they gain congressional power.
“Hardworking Americans have earned these benefits and no one should take them away,” she added.
The House Budget Committee Tweeted Sunday that “Democrats are fighting to lower costs for families” while “Republicans are fighting to cut Social Security benefits.”
A recent MSNBC article quoted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) recently acknowledging the Republican Study Committee’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget proposal would change the federal entitlement plans.
However, Scalise pushed back on the characterization of the changes as “cuts,” though the proposed changes would likely mean spending less on the programs.
According to Bloomberg, the study committee’s plans would increase the age eligibility threshold for Medicare to 67 and Social Security to 70. Individuals can currently begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, and Medicare insurance at age 65.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) shared the MSNBC article on Twitter, and made a few tweaks to the headline, writing “GOP acknowledges GOP plan to cut Medicare and Social Security.”
The Republican Study Committee counts among its members 158 of the 212 House Republicans, which Democrats have pointed to as showing broad support for the changes to entitlement reforms.
“158 out of 212 House Republicans have called for slashing and privatizing Social Security and ending Medicare as we know it. Pulling the rug out from under hardworking Americans is not a solution to our problems. We can and will strengthen Social Security and Medicare,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said on Twitter Saturday.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) stepped into hot water earlier this year when he suggested the programs should be up for congressional approval each year.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm, also unveiled a “Rescue America” plan, which would have allowed Social Security and Medicare to sunset every five years as a way to increase congressional oversight.
Republicans have kept a distance from that proposal, and the House GOP has instead rallied around a “Commitment to America” midterm policy platform, which aims to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare,” with no details.
Via The Hill