(CNSNews.com) – “President Biden stands ready to work with Congress to shore up Social Security and discuss possible approaches,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.
“So that’s a conversation that it’s important for us to have. He has made explicit proposals in connection with Medicare in shoring it up, and it’s important to have that conversation about Social Security,” she said.
“The president believes strongly that that should not involve cutting benefits or going back on our commitments to America’s seniors, but certainly it’s a discussion we need to have.”
If nothing is done, the Social Security Trust Fund will start running out of money in 2035, triggering a 24-percent cut in benefits.
And, as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told Yellen, “The president’s budget includes no proposal to extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund. Anyone who knows that things get done around here know it takes presidential leadership to lead major reforms to Social Security.”
Grassley told Yellen, who is the managing trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, he assumes that Yellen and Biden are “sincere” in wanting to avoid benefit cuts.
“It would help a lot if the president would quit demagoguing the Social Security issue the way he has in recent weeks,” Grassley told her.
At that same hearing, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also raised the Social Security issue with Yellen, asking her if President Biden is aware that, under current law, “when the program goes broke in nine years, that there will be a 24 percent benefit cut for those who are current recipients? Is he aware of that?” Cassidy asked her.
“If we don’t do anything about it, I think that’s about right,” Yellen agreed. “The president will want — wants to strengthen Social Security and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Yellen said Biden “stands ready to work with Congress,” but a frustrated Cassidy said no, apparently he doesn’t:
“That’s a lie, because a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly requested to meet with him about Social (Security) so that somebody who is a current beneficiary will not see her benefits cut by 24 percent. We have not heard anything on our request.
“And we’ve made multiple requests to meet with the president. Now you can’t comment on that, I realize that, but that is a fact.
“And if you’ve been told to say he stands ready to meet, I will tell you, there’s absolutely no evidence because we have not gotten our meeting.”
“Well,” said Yellen, “I believe the president does stand ready to work with Congress to address this issue.”
“Well, again, empirically that is not true,” Cassidy said.
Ahead of his anticipated run for re-election, President Biden is campaigning on the false premise that Republicans want to “cut” Social Security. He repeatedly points to a plan proposed by Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who has suggested “sunsetting” all federal legislation every five years, and if the law is worth keeping, Congress could pass it again.
Not all Republicans agree with Scott’s plan; and not a single Republican (or Democrat) has called for Social Security benefit cuts, as Biden has misleadingly suggested.
In a speech in Florida last month, Biden slammed Scott’s plan, which is not the Republican Party plan:
“I guarantee you, it will not happen,” Biden said. “I will veto it. I’ll defend Social Security and Medicare.”
“Look, I know that a lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare,” Biden said. “Well, let me say this: If that’s your dream, I’m your nightmare.”
“I will not cut a single Social Security or Medicare benefit,” Biden said in that speech. “And I’ll pay for it all, my proposals, by making the wealthy and big corporations pay just a little bit more.”
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