Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on Congress to rein in major government programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to slow America’s spiraling national debt on Tuesday, ignoring the fact the tax plan he recently passed has further grown that number.
“It’s very disturbing, and it’s driven by the three big entitlement programs that are very popular: Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. That’s 70 percent of what we spend every year,” he said on Bloomberg News Tuesday when asked about the national debt. “There’s been a bipartisan reluctance to tackle entitlement changes because of the popularity of those programs. Hopefully at some point here we’ll get serious about this. We haven’t been yet.”
McConnell’s comments give Democrats more fodder for an argument that they’ve been making in campaigns across the map: That the GOP will ultimately try to pay for its tax cuts by slashing social programs.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the GOP tax cuts would add $1.9 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. The loss of government revenue from the cuts has been a larger proportional loss than what was caused by the Great Recession, according to the New York Times.
McConnell had shied away from pushing for cuts to social programs like these before the election, even as House Republicans led by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had agitated to do so. And while he said he didn’t think this could be a problem solved with one party controlling Washington, indicating he won’t make a big push for it himself if the GOP retains control, it could help Democrats further their campaign argument in the three remaining weeks before the midterm elections.
Watch the clip below: