WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed a Republican budget plan introduced Wednesday that he said would throw millions off health insurance, drive up already-skyrocketing prices seniors pay for prescription drugs and pave the way for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
In a Senate floor speech, Sanders also called on President-elect Donald Trump to pledge to veto any legislation that would break his campaign promise to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He cited a Trump tweet on May 7, 2015, and other campaign statements.
The budget plan crafted by Senate Republicans, Sanders warned, would clear the way for the cuts Trump pledged to oppose. “This is the day,” Sanders said as the budget debate unfolded. “They want to cut Social Security. They want to cut Medicare. They want to cut Medicaid.”
The ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders pressed Trump to either keep his word or admit that he didn’t mean it.
“Mr. Trump right now has got to do one of two things,” Sanders said.
“Number one, if all that he was talking about was campaign rhetoric then what he is obliged to do now is to tell the American people, ‘Yeah, I was lying. Yeah, I said I would not support cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid but I was lying. It was a campaign ruse. I just said what came to my mind to get votes. I have no intention of keeping my word.’
But if Trump was sincere, Sanders added, “then I would hope that tomorrow or maybe today he could send out a tweet and tell his Republican colleagues to stop wasting their time ... [and] tell the American people that he will veto any proposal that cuts Medicare, that cuts Medicaid and the cuts Social Security.”
The Republican budget resolution, Sanders said, could lead to 30 million Americans losing their health care, increased prescription drug prices, the end of Medicare as we know it and nursing home care for millions of seniors being threatened by cutting Medicaid.