by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jeff Zymeri writes for National Review Online about an interesting exchange on Capitol Hill.
Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) sparred with President Joe Biden’s budget director, Shalanda Young, on Wednesday about her “dishonest” claims that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare.
According to Romney, who questioned Young as part of a Senate Budget Committee hearing, no Republican in the House or Senate supports such cuts. He said Biden’s budget does not contain any serious proposals to protect Social Security from automatic cuts when the trust fund runs out in a decade.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report last month projecting that Social Security’s funds are to run a shortfall in 2032, sooner than previously expected. Romney said during the hearing that “benefits would be cut dramatically, like 25 percent.”
CBO Director Phillip Swagel told the Hill that benefits “would be more than 20 percent smaller than scheduled, if outlays are limited to what is payable after this trust fund exhaustion.”
“Are you aware of any one of the elected officials we have in the federal government, in Congress . . . that have . . . currently proposed cutting benefits for Social Security of any kind?” Romney asked Young, clarifying that he was specifically inquiring about statements in recent months.
“Current members have well-known policies out there to cut Social Security and Medicare,” Young replied, explaining that there are policies on members’ websites that she could print out and bring to the committee’s attention, adding that whether the elected officials have changed their positions is another thing.
“That is simply wrong,” Romney countered. “It’s not honest to say that to members of Congress. That is simply wrong. There is no [Republican or Democrat in the House or the Senate] who’s recommending cutting Social Security benefits. . . . It’s offensive and dishonest and not realistic. We have a problem in Social Security. We need to address it.”
The pair also disagreed on what the biggest threat to Social Security is.