READING, Penn., Dec. 3 – At a rally here Sunday against the Republican tax bill, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) challenged President Donald Trump to keep his word to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“Mr. President, you told the American people time and time again you were not going to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Today, get on the phone. Tell Paul Ryan, tell Mitch McConnell that you will veto any bill that cuts Social Security, that cuts Medicare, that cuts Medicaid,” Sanders said.
Trump said repeatedly during the campaign that he would not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
In March 2016, then-candidate Trump said that unlike House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) he would protect the programs.
“You know, Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down,” Trump told WROK radio in Wisconsin. “I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.”
It is now becoming very clear that is exactly what Republicans intend to do. This week, a number of Republicans publicly said that they plan to cut “entitlement programs” after passing their tax bill.
At a FOX News town hall this week, Ryan said, “There’s two things you got to do to get this debt under control. Cut spending – most importantly reform entitlement programs – and grow the economy.”
“Many argue that you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the deficit,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told business leaders. “But we have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth, which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future.”
And in an exchange with Sanders on the Senate floor before the tax bill passed, U.S. Sen Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) refused to say that he would not support cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – saying only that he would protect people currently on the programs.
To watch the rally, click here.