STATEMENT: Protect Medicare and Social Security

Marc Stier |

Statement by PBPC director Marc Stier at a press conference with US Representatives Brendan Boyle and Mary Gay Scanlan, and Dan Adcock, policy director of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, held in Philadelphia on January 23, 2023. 

If you are a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or a political junkie, you probably found yourself alternately transfixed, astounded, and disgusted earlier this month at the spectacle of the Republican House members trying to pick a speaker of the House.

And you were subjected to speech after speech by MAGA Republicans who said that Washington, DC, is broken.

They kept saying that something was wrong—but they weren’t very specific about it.

I want to tell you today what is broken in Washington, DC.

What is broken is that one of our two major political parties is dominated today by MAGA Republicans.

It’s not just the 20 or so members who held out before voting for Kevin McCarthy. It’s most of those who voted for McCarthy from the beginning.

What is broken is that these MAGA Republicans wouldn’t say during the election what they intended to do if they took power.

What is broken is that these MAGA Republicans are now carrying out a plan to cut Medicare benefits for 58.6 million seniors and Social Security benefits for the 54 million seniors and children who get Social Security today as well as the other 278 million of us who hope to benefit from Medicare and Social Security someday. (And I say “children,” as well as “seniors,” because Social Security is also a life and disability insurance program for people with young children—it lifts 1.1 million children above the poverty line.

What is broken is that the MAGA Republicans won’t put a bill on the floor of the House to do that explicitly. They know it will be voted down by a huge majority, including their own members, because the people of this country overwhelmingly support Social Security.

What is broken is that, instead, the MAGA Republicans are taking not just the United States economy but the world economy hostage by threatening to let the US government default on its debt if the Senate and President Biden do not agree to their plan.

What is broken is that the MAGA Republicans have attempted to justify their efforts by talking about rising debt, yet they voted for the Trump tax cut that led to a huge increase in the deficit that in turn led to faster growth of the US debt. Since 1989, the deficit has increased under Republican presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump, while it has declined under Democratic presidents Clinton, Obama, and Biden.

What is broken is that they are hiding from their own voters that their most important goal is to cut Social Security, a program that is responsible for reducing the poverty rate among seniors from 38% to 9% in order to pay for tax cuts for the richest corporations and individuals in the United States who already pay taxes at rates below that of average Americans.

So, I’m very proud to stand here with Mr. Adcock and Representatives Brendan Boyle and Mary Gay Scanlon and say we will fight this attempt to undermine Social Security through an undemocratic and dishonest attempt to hijack the government of the United States.