The White House put out a memo Tuesday evening warning that Republicans are once again coming after Social Security and Medicare, despite members loud pledges not to during President Biden’s State Of The Union speech this year.
In a memo to the media, White House deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates responded to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) announcement last week that after the debt ceiling bill cleared the House, he’d set up a “commission” to further examine the deficit and other potential cuts his party might push. He specifically cited Medicare and Social Security as programs to be examined.
That announcement, which he made on Fox News while in the thick of debt-limit vote-whipping, was widely seen as a last-ditch attempt to get rebellious Freedom Caucus members to buck up and support the bill — and, potentially, to steer them away from their threats to oust him as speaker.
In the memo, Bates goes on to sound the alarm, pointing to recent reporting from the Wall Street Journal that confirmed that McCarthy does, in fact, intend to “organize a bipartisan commission to look at the entirety of government spending, including mandatory spending programs like Medicaid and Social Security.”
More from Bates:
These new statements from the Speaker demonstrate that the House GOP are reversing the promise they made to President Biden and the country in the State of the Union, and that to shield billionaires and multinational corporations from paying a cent more in taxes, they very much intend to slash Americans’ Medicare and Social Security benefits.
The American people – including majorities of conservatives – reject that approach, and support President Biden’s work to stand up for the benefits they pay their entire lives to earn.
While Bates seized on the State Of The Union episode — when President Biden was able to back Republicans into a corner and commit to opposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare, all on live television — McCarthy’s about-face last week is reflective of Republicans’ years-long split personality on the issue, supporting the popular programs publicly only to later advocate for gutting them under the guise of “reform.”
McCarthy’s announcement may have done something to get a handful of Freedom Caucus holdouts to back the measure. But enough Democrats ultimately supported the compromise bill that it didn’t end up mattering. And while far-right members have at least thus far backed off of threatening to put forward a motion-to-vacate, they’re finding other ways to punish McCarthy for not holding the national economy hostage for long enough.
On Tuesday evening, 11 right-wing members mucked up McCarthy’s lib-owning gambit when they joined Democrats and successfully blocked two Republican leadership-lauded bills that would protect gas stoves from the Biden deep state.