(CNSNews.com) – President Biden continues to insist the Republicans wants to cut Social Security and Medicare programs, pointing to the plan of a single Republican — Sen. Rick Scott of Florida.
Republican leaders in both chambers say there’s no way they’ll cut those benefit programs, and two Republicans emphasized that on different Sunday talk shows:
“We’re not going to cut Social Security or Medicare. We’ve been very clear about that,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told ABC’s “This Week.”
“It’s very disappointing that the president and Chuck Schumer would continue to try to scare seniors. These are important programs to everyone. There’s bipartisan support for Social Security and Medicare. If anything, we need to shore those programs up.They’re running out of money.
“But at the end of the day, those programs are going to be off the table with respect to cuts.But everything else is on the table,” Comer said.
Likewise, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) called for an end to the scare tactics:
“I kind of look at Social Security the way I would at the Department of Defense and our defense spending,” Rounds told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We’re never going to not fund defense. But, at the same time, we — every single year, we look at how we can make it better. And I think it’s about time that we start talking about Social Security and making it better. We have got 11 years before we actually see cuts start to happen to people that are on Social Security.
“And I think it’d be very responsible for us to do everything we can to make those funding…plans right now, so that we don’t run out of money in Social Security and that it continues to provide all the benefits that it does today.
“Simply looking away from it and pretending like there’s no problems with Social Security is not an appropriate or responsible thing to do. So, I guess my preference would be, let’s start managing it.”
Rounds said Democrats should not be trying to scare people: “This is something that we should be saying, let’s plan now, so that Social Security has a long run ahead of it, more than 75 years. And why don’t we start talking about the long-term plans, instead of trying to scare one another?”
Tapper asked Sen. Rounds if Rick Scott hurt the Republican Party by floating a plan to sunset all federal legislation every five years, something that would force Congress to examine the condition of the programs they’re funding, including Social Security and Medicare. Scott says Congress should renew the legislation it wants to keep.
“I think Senator Scott had an idea that he proposed,” Rounds said. “I think the vast majority of us would say that we prefer to look at it in a different direction, one of managing it, as opposed to a discussion about having everything start over again.
“And I think that’s misleading in terms of what he really intended to do. But, look, the bottom line is, is, Republicans want to see Social Security be successful and be improved. And the best way to do that is to take a look at other successful pension programs that the vast majority of us, including a lot of the folks that you’re going to be talking to, would include in their portfolios.
“But we can do that as long as the federal government continues to make the assurances to the individuals who are looking forward to Social Security long term. But, once again, in the next 11 years, we have to have a better plan in place than what we do today, or we’re going to see, under existing circumstances, some reductions of as much as 24 percent in some sort of a benefit.
“So let’s start talking now, because it’s easier to fix it now than it would be five years or six years from now. And that’s the message we’re trying to get at is, isn’t it responsible for Congress to actually say, we’re going to start managing this. We’re going to try to do our best to make it better?
“I think the first thing that you do is, you assure people that are currently on Social Security or that are within 15, 20 years of getting it that they’re not going to see changes in the existing benefits or programs.
“I think that’s really important, so that they can continue on the plans that they have got for retirement. But, second of all, you have to do a little bit of looking at what longevity looks like and whether or not people, if they’re living longer, do we have to plan to make sure that we have got the resources to be able to pay for those benefits long-term?
“There are some natural things that we have done in the past. We have looked at moving up by a couple of months the time period in which full benefits start. That’s possibly something that we could look at in the future. There may be some possibilities of changing the amount of income which is subject to Social Security taxes.
“I think those are reasonable discussions to talk about, because, right now, we have some increases there built into the existing program. But let’s not talk about significant stuff until we actually look at what the other alternatives are.
“We think that there are possibilities out there of long-term success without scaring people and without tearing apart the system and without reducing benefits. But it requires management. And it requires actually looking at and making things better.”
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