After Trump Threatens to Cut Vital Programs, Murray, Cantwell, Senate Democrats Demand Trump Retract Comments, Publicly Commit to Protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
Senators respond to Trump’s comments at Davos that he would consider cutting Medicare & Social Security; Budget deficit grows to $1 trillion as a result of GOP tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health and pensions committee, joined Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 35 of their Democratic colleagues in sending a letter demanding that President Trump retract statements he made last week threatening to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
In an interview last week from Davos, Switzerland, President Trump indicated his openness to cutting these vital programs to offset the growing budget deficit fueled by Republicans’ 2017 tax reform legislation. At the time of its passage, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the legislation would add $1.9 trillion to the federal debt over a ten year period – the Department of Treasury recently reported that the federal deficit surpassed $1 trillion in 2019.
“We are alarmed by comments you made last week while in Davos, Switzerland, that suggest you plan to cut vital entitlement programs. Asked if such cuts would be on your agenda, you responded: ‘At some point they will be […] toward the end of the year,’ and that cutting such critical programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be ‘the easiest of all things.’ We urge you to retract these statements and publicly commit to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the remainder of your presidency,” the senators wrote.
“Attempting to make up the trillion-dollar deficit created by your tax law on the backs of hard-working Americans would be a betrayal to all who consider these programs a lifeline. American workers who for decades have paid into Social Security and Medicare should not be forced to relinquish their health and retirement security to pay for your tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations.”
As the top Democrat on the Senate health and pensions committee, Senator Murray has been a staunch advocate for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and has worked tirelessly to strengthen the three programs. In 2018, Senator Murray introduced the Stronger Safety Net (SSN) Act, a set of common sense proposals to modernize, enhance, and protect Social Security. Additionally, Senator Murray has led the fight against the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken essential health benefits, shorten the open enrollment period, and cut outreach budgets for Medicaid and Medicare, making it harder for patients and families to access quality, affordable health care.
Senator Cantwell has been a leading defender of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in the Senate, sounding the alarm over the effects that cuts to these essential programs would have on Washingtonians. In 2017 she offered a measure to protect Medicare from Republican attacks and traveled across Washington state to hear directly from Medicaid patients, health care providers, veterans, and advocates who rely on Medicaid for coverage. She has also spoken repeatedly on the Senate floor urging her colleagues to vote against senseless entitlement cuts. This year, Cantwell introduced legislation that would empower Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors and allow Americans to import safe, low-cost prescription drugs from Canada.
In addition to Senators Murray, Cantwell and Brown, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) also signed the letter to the president.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE and below:
January 28, 2020
Dear President Trump,
We are alarmed by comments you made this week while in Davos, Switzerland, that suggest you plan to cut vital entitlement programs. Asked if such cuts would be on your agenda, you responded: “At some point they will be […] toward the end of the year,” and that cutting such critical programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be “the easiest of all things.” We urge you to retract these statements and publicly commit to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the remainder of your Presidency.
Social Security and Medicare are vital programs that millions of Americans earned and rely on. Medicare provides quality health insurance for 44 million older Americans and people with disabilities. Social Security provides critical income for 64 million Americans. Cutting these programs would be a direct attack on working Americans, and would violate the repeated promises you made not to cut Social Security or Medicare as a presidential candidate.
In 2017, you signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), legislation passed by a Republican-controlled Congress that lavished the wealthy and corporations with significant tax cuts. Not only did these tax cuts go overwhelmingly to the wealthy – further fueling economic inequality– they also exploded our nation’s deficit. The tax cuts appear to be adding even more to the deficit than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected soon after TCJA’s enactment – due largely to dramatic reductions in corporate tax revenue.
Your tax law is fueling the budget deficit used by you and members of your administration to justify deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Following its passage, CBO estimated your tax law would add $1.9 trillion to the deficit over the 2018-27 period. Indeed, the Department of Treasury recently reported that the federal deficit surpassed $1 trillion in 2019. We will not allow the higher deficits brought about by your tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations to be used as a cynical justification to fulfill the long-held Republican endeavor to destroy Social Security and Medicare.
As a presidential candidate, you promised the American people that you would not cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. In fact, you criticized your political opponents for failing to make the same promise. Not only have you broken that promise, you have waged an all-out assault on Medicaid. Attempting to make up the trillion dollar deficit created by your tax law on the backs of hard-working Americans would be a betrayal to all who consider these programs a lifeline. American workers who for decades have paid into Social Security and Medicare should not be forced to relinquish their health and retirement security to pay for your tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations.
We urge you to immediately clarify your plans for these programs, direct your administration officials to refrain from cutting or otherwise attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and publicly commit to the American people that you will not cut these earned benefits for the remainder of your Presidency. The American people who have paid for and rely on these programs deserve nothing less.
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