Remember how President Joe Biden got the whole Republican Congress to stand up and cheer for protecting Social Security at his State of the Union address? The White House sure does, and is reminding the media of that “important promise from congressional Republicans: that they would drop their years’-long pursuit of Medicare and Social Security cuts.”
Now that the debt ceiling deal is done, Biden’s team has taken the gloves off and is assailing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for going back on his word on Social Security and Medicare. In a memo to national media outlets, Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates blasts McCarthy for reneging via his plans for a revival of the so-called cat food commission, the Obama-era austerity commission that failed to do anything but cause headaches for Democrats seeking to preserve these programs.
Following their “disingenuous performance for the cameras,” plenty of “high-ranking Republicans” have indicated they “plan to erode the retirement benefits middle class families count on,” Bates writes. McCarthy confirmed that, he said, with this commission idea.
Bates quotes McCarthy putting Social Security and Medicare in the center of conservative crosshairs. “The majority driver of the budget is mandatory spending. It's Medicare, Social Security, interest on the debt,” McCarthy said on Fox News when he was still whipping conservative votes for the debt ceiling deal. McCarthy also complained Biden had “walled off” Social Security and Medicare from cuts, a claim Bates happily confirmed in the memo.
Bates continued, saying Biden “has done the math” to show how deficit reduction can be done with “a combination of ending wasteful tax subsidies for extremely profitable industries and having the richest individuals and big corporations pay their fair share.” That’s something “House Republicans have refused to even consider,” he points out.
There’s nothing to conclude from this, Bates says, other than the fact “that the House GOP are reversing the promise they made to President Biden and the country in the State of the Union, and that to shield billionaires and multinational corporations from paying a cent more in taxes, they very much intend to slash Americans’ Medicare and Social Security benefits.”
That’s all great stuff. Watching Biden slam Republicans over these programs has been a thing of beauty for months. The best part, though, is the fact that Biden and his administration are blasting the idea. That means congressional Democrats are very unlikely to participate in this cat food commission.
It could finally mean the end of Democrats falling for the Republicans’ “fiscal responsibility” ploy when it comes to “reforming” these programs. Now they can focus on truly strengthening—and even expanding—the programs.
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