Republicans Want to Use Debt Ceiling to Push Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

Republican lawmakers and leaders continue to show they’re so committed to pushing their agenda, including gutting Social Security and Medicare, that they are willing to risk jeopardizing the economy.

Virginia Congressman Bob Good threatened to not just use the debt ceiling negotiations, but every budget deadline to push cuts to government spending.

Washington Post: “Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said that a GOP majority will have a mandate from voters to use every deadline throughout the year to cut spending […] ‘We ought to use the budget process in January to force the change that the American people, I believe, are going to vote for on Nov. 8.”

Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith said addressing the debt ceiling was a great opportunity to have a “serious debate about government spending.”

Washington Post: “‘The debt ceiling is an important tool for addressing debt and deficit,’ Adrian Smith, a top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, told The Post. ‘After two years of irresponsible spending by Democrats driving historic inflation, American families can’t afford for us to not have a serious debate about government spending.’”

Grover Norquist, a long-time advocate of privatizing Social Security and Medicare, advised Republicans to play games with the debt ceiling.

Washington Post: “But Norquist urged Republicans to take a hard line again. ‘You will likely end up to something very similar as to Obama: You want a $2 trillion debt ceiling increase, then we need $2 trillion in deficit reduction from your previous plans,’ he said.”

And Missouri Congressman Jason Smith doubled down on his previous comments to leverage the debt limit, saying we need to “right size the federal government,” an idea that has included calls to gut or privatize Social Security and Medicare.

Washington Post: “‘The American people expect Congress to use every tool at its disposal to combat rising prices, to strengthen our economy, to secure our border, to bring down the cost of energy, to fix our supply chains, and to right size the federal government,’ Smith, a top contender to lead the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement to The Washington Post. ‘The debt ceiling absolutely is one of those tools.’”

One of McCarthy’s advisors, Newt Gingrich, said he should make a “shopping list” of policies Republicans need in order to keep our economy stable.

Gingrich: “I would make up a shopping list and go and sit up with Biden. My advice to McCarthy is that the only two people he should be negotiating with are the chief of staff and the president.”

Gingrich: “Now, I don’t think you go out and cheerfully shut the government down. I think you say, look, the following things have to get done, and you pick three or four things that the American people really want, and you have Biden explain why he’s against all of them, and he won’t do any of them.”

Even Republicans who support this plan say it “may be stupid and may be reckless.”

Washington Post: “‘There’s a genuine desire and strategic imperative to get something out of this — that may be stupid and may be reckless, but they have to play this game out,’ said one GOP strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to frankly describe dynamics among Republican lawmakers.”

Threatening to crash the economy to achieve their extreme agenda would be far from the first “stupid and reckless” thing Republicans have done. We have to hold Republicans to their word. A GOP majority would be disastrous for the economy and the country.