BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 19 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who will step up in January to a new role as the Senate Budget Committee’s ranking member, said today that he strongly disagreed with the House Republican Budget Committee agenda calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Sanders was responding to recent statements by U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, that he would pursue proposals to cut mandatory spending on programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
“At a time when poverty among seniors is increasing, and millions of elderly Americans lack sufficient income to buy the medicine or food they need, it would be a moral outrage for Congress to cut Social Security. In fact, instead of cutting Social Security benefits, we should be expanding them.” Sanders said.
Sanders has proposed increasing benefits by lifting the cap on how much of a wage earner’s income is subject to the payroll tax that funds Social Security. Under Sanders’ plan, the wealthiest wage earners who make more than $250,000 a year would pay the same 6.2 percent share of their income into the retirement program as everyone else. The current cap for all beneficiaries is $117,000.
“I will also fight the Republican effort to end Medicare as we know it and convert it into a voucher program,” Sanders said. The Ryan budget, which the incoming chairman praised, called for $129 billion in cuts to Medicare as part of $5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.