Campaign 2010

Mar 15, 2011

House Republicans Fail to Protect Social Security and Medicare From Benefit Cuts

In an early indication of where they are headed, House Republicans today voted against preventing government funding from being used to dismantle Social Security and Medicare or reduce benefits Americans receive under those programs. While Republican leaders continue their march to privatize Social Security and dismantle Medicare, 239 House Republicans refused to cut funding for that radical approach.  This comes just a month after House Republicans voted for a $1.7 billion reduction in funding for the Social Security Administration and on the heels of an announcement by Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan that he intends to target these benefits in his forthcoming budget.

Background

  • Today, House Republicans opposed a measure that would have ensured none of the funds made available from today’s Continuing Appropriations Act could be used to develop or implement a system that cuts or privatizes Social Security, or that cuts or voucherizes Medicare. The amendment was offered by Representative Mark Critz.  [H.J. Res 48, Vote #178, 3/15/11]
  • House Republicans voted for the Republican continuing resolution which included a $1.7 billion reduction in SSA funding for the remainder of 2011.  [HR 1, Vote #147 , 2/19/11; The Hill, 2/18/11]
  • Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and House Speaker John Boehner have made clear they intend to push forward a plan that privatizes Social Security and dismantles Medicare. [AP, 3/11/11; Wall Street Journal, 3/4/11]
  • Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Paul Ryan’s roadmap and the plan to privatize Social Security and dismantle Medicare is “something we need to embrace.” [The Hill, 1/23/11]
  • Plan Would 'Destroy' Medicare and Social Security. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare discussing the Ryan/Republican plan wrote, “In short, it is a budget plan which decimates Social Security and Medicare in the name of deficit reduction.  The only thing new about this strategy, is the fact that Rep. Ryan isn’t shy about acknowledging that he believes seniors should foot the bill for our current economic nightmare…Destroying Social Security and Medicare, under the guise of deficit reduction, isn’t about creating sound economic policy it’s just more of the same old privatization politics, rewrapped, repackaged and rejected by the American people just two years ago.” [NCPSSM, 2/3/10]
  • Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security are Privatized. According to the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, “To move us to surpluses, Ryan's budget proposes reforms that are nothing short of violent. Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher's growth is far slower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized. The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs. And beyond health care, Social Security gets guaranteed, private accounts that CBO says will actually cost more than the present arrangement, further underscoring how ancillary the program is to our budget problem.” [Washington Post, 2/1/10]
  • Center for American Progress: Privatizes Medicare and Social Security. In February, Pat Garofalo writing for the Center for American Progress’ Wonk Room called the Republican proposal, “a radical budget proposal that eliminates long-term deficits by essentially privatizing Medicare and Social Security and placing arbitrary, non-specific freezes on all non-discretionary spending.” [Center for American Progress, 2/6/10]
  • Paul Krugman: Plan Privatizes Medicare. According to Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, “In the Ryan proposal, nobody currently under the age of 55 would be covered by Medicare as it now exists. Instead, people would receive vouchers and be told to buy their own insurance. And even this new, privatized version of Medicare would erode over time because the value of these vouchers would almost surely lag ever further behind the actual cost of health insurance. By the time Americans now in their 20s or 30s reached the age of eligibility, there wouldn't be much of a Medicare program left.” [New York Times, 2/11/10]

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