Former President Donald Trump is urging congressional Republicans to keep entitlement reform off the table as part of debt ceiling negotiations.
“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security to help pay for Joe Biden’s reckless spending spree, which is more reckless than anybody’s ever done or had in the history of our country,” Trump said Friday in a video posted to TRUTH Social. “We absolutely need to stop Biden’s out-of-control spending. The pain should be borne by Washington bureaucrats, not by hard-working American families and American seniors.”
Republicans are threatening to oppose raising the debt ceiling if the increase is not accompanied by spending cuts. As part of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership negotiations, Republicans agreed to freeze the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget at FY 2022 levels. While defense hawks like Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul of Texas are pledging to leave defense spending untouched, others, such as Texas Rep. Chip Roy, are pledging not to “touch” Medicare or Social Security.
“Cut the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars going to corrupt foreign countries. Cut the mass releases of illegal aliens that are depleting our social safety net and destroying our country. Cut the left-wing gender programs from our military. Cut the billions being spent on climate extremism. Cut waste, fraud and abuse everywhere we can find it. And there’s plenty of it. But do not cut the benefits our seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives. Save Social Security, don’t destroy it,” Trump continued.
Social Security’s Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund is projected to become insolvent in 2033 if the program continues to pay benefits under current law, according to the Congressional Budget Office, meaning retirees will not receive full benefits. Some Republicans have acknowledged the program must be reformed in order to keep it solvent. Pennsylvania Rep. Lloyd Smucker floated means testing the universal program.
“We should ensure that we keep the promises that were made to the people who really need it, the people who are relying on it,” he told Bloomberg. “So some sort of means-testing potentially would help to ensure that we can do that.”
Social Security and Medicare combined make up more than 30% of the federal budget, and the number is set to increase as Baby Boomers continue to retire.
The U.S. Treasury on Thursday began taking extraordinary measures to avoid defaulting on the federal debt. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has estimated the government will go over the fiscal cliff at some point in June or July.
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