Senator Ron Jonson participates in a Senate hearing.
Senate

Ron Johnson Signals Support for Cutting Social Security and Medicare

Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that Wisconsin GOP U.S. Senator Ron Johnson suggested Social Security and Medicare should be turned into discretionary spending — leaving these entitlement programs that millions of Seniors and people with disabilities rely on susceptible to Republican budget cuts each year

Despite its overwhelming popularity, Republican have repeatedly floated cuts and changes to programs like Medicare and Social Security in recent years. 

This is not the first time Johnson has proposed a plan to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. So far this cycle, he has praised NRSC Chair Rick Scott’s policy roadmap which would “sunset” Social Security and Medicare “within five years” — calling it a “positive thing.” He was also instrumental in the construction of Trump’s billionaire tax cut that cut Medicare funding. And the multimillionaire who slashed his own taxes and has doubled his wealth in office is a longtime critic of Social Security, having repeatedly (falsely) labeled it a “Ponzi scheme.”

Wisconsin State Journal: Ron Johnson calls for turning Social Security, Medicare into discretionary spending programs

By Alexander Shur | August 3, 2022

Key Points:

  • “Saying programs like Social Security and Medicare suffer from improper oversight, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson on Tuesday called for turning every government program into discretionary spending programs, meaning Congress would have to allocate funding for the programs each year.”

  • “‘What’s mandatory are things like Social Security and Medicare,’ Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said on the ‘Regular Joe’ show Tuesday. ‘If you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost. And our problem in this country is that more than 70% of our federal budget, of our federal spending, is all mandatory spending. It’s on automatic pilot.’” 

  • “‘It never, you just don’t do proper oversight. You don’t get in there and fix the programs going bankrupt, it’s just on automatic pilot. What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending so it’s all evaluated so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken. ‘Again, as long as things are on automatic pilot we just continue to pile up debt,’ Johnson added, saying massive deficit spending was sparking inflation.”

  • “Johnson’s comments came during a conversation about a measure to expand medical care eligibility for veterans who may have been exposed to toxins from burn pits. Republicans opposed the bill for including a provision that would move spending from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ discretionary budget to its mandatory budget, not subject to congressional reauthorization, which they said would allow for unrelated and wasteful spending.”

Read the full report here.