Approximately every six months, Senate Republicans inevitably return to openly promoting their long-running project of trying to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.
This time, the culpable party is South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who today told Capitol Hill reporters that he plans to threaten to take the economy hostage unless “he gets a Social Security and Medicare trust fund commission and/or other reforms.”
And Graham isn’t the only member of the GOP conference getting excited at the possibility of cutting these earned benefit programs. According to the Washington Post, Texas Sen. John Cornyn likewise promoted steps to address such programs, while Sens. Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio are advocating related approaches.
Republicans’ most recent push to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security dates back to their passage of the 2017 tax law — which was projected to send more than 80% of its $1.7 trillion benefits to the richest 1% of Americans and big corporations like Wells Fargo and Chevron. After the tax law’s passage, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan argued that the cost of the law’s corporate giveaways required gutting social safety net programs.
While Senate and House Republicans enthusiastically backed the 2017 tax bill’s enrichment of their wealthiest donors and corporate backers, they uniformly opposed Democrats’ 2021 expansion of the child tax credit — a tax cut for 39 million families, which was passed under the American Rescue Plan.
“It’s as clear as ever that Senate Republicans’ only substantive policy goal is to give their wealthy and corporate donors billion-dollar tax giveaways that are financed by deep cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare,” said Brad Bainum, American Bridge spokesperson. “It’s shameful that Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio are standing by these threats to take the debt ceiling hostage in order to push for cuts to programs that millions of seniors count on.”