By Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Senator Bernie Sanders challenged President Donald Trump to keep his repeated promise to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from Republican attempts to cut the programs.
“Mr. President, on the campaign trail you said over and over again you would not cut Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid. And today, I am asking you nothing more than to keep your word. Don't lie to the American people. Millions of people voted for you because you said you would not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Keep your word. Tell Senate Leader McConnell and tell House Speaker Paul Ryan that you will veto any legislation that cuts these programs,” Sanders said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Trump said repeatedly during the campaign that he would not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
In March 2016, then-candidate Trump said that unlike House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) he would protect the programs.
“You know, Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down,” Trump told WROK radio in Wisconsin. “I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.”
According to The New York Times, Republicans plan to focus on cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid following tax reform.
“As the tax cut legislation passed by the Senate early Saturday hurtles toward final approval, Republicans are preparing to use the swelling deficits made worse by the package as a rationale to pursue their long-held vision: undoing the entitlements of the New Deal and Great Society, leaving government leaner and the safety net skimpier for millions of Americans,” the Times reported in a front-page story last weekend.
Last week, a number of Republicans publicly said that they plan to cut “entitlement programs” after passing their tax bill.
At a Fox News town hall this week, Ryan said, “There’s two things you got to do to get this debt under control. Cut spending – most importantly reform entitlement programs – and grow the economy.”
“Many argue that you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the deficit,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told business leaders. “But we have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth, which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.”
And in an exchange with Sanders on the Senate floor before the tax bill passed, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) refused to say that he would not support cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – saying only that he would protect people currently on the programs.