Prominent Republicans Calling For Cuts To Social Security & Medicare

March 4, 2023

Former Vice President Mike Pence: “We all know where the real issue is in terms of long-term debt for the United States. I respect the Speaker’s commitment to take Social Security and Medicare off the table for the debt ceiling negotiations, we’ve got to put them on the table in the long term.” [Rolling Stone, 2/22/23]

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Republican Leader: “I think it would be safe to say that the single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress has been our failure to address the entitlement issue, and it’s a shame, because now the Democrats are promising ‘Medicare for all’. I mean, my gosh, we can’t sustain the Medicare we have at the rate we’re going and that’s the height of irresponsibility.” [Bloomberg, 10/16/18]

Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senate Republican whip, the number two position in Senate Republican leadership: “On entitlement program changes, Thune said Congress should weigh an increase in the Social Security retirement age. But he didn’t rule out a deal that might simply start the process of making key changes, pointing to a proposal by GOP Senator Mitt Romney and others for a task force to examine what needs to be done. ‘Even creating a process by which that gets dealt with would be progress and at least a baby step,’ Thune said.” [Bloomberg, 11/29/22]

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), then chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee: In [Rick Scott’s] 11-point plan, sub-point 7 of point 6 reads: ‘All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.’ The plan doesn’t single out Medicare and Social Security specifically, but these are programs that were established by federal legislation and would thus disappear under Scott’s proposal unless renewed every five years.” [Slate, 2/8/23]

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell referred to Senator Scott’s plan as “a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.” [C-SPAN, 3/1/22]

Republican Study Committee (currently representing over 150 House Republicans): “The Republican Study Committee released its annual alternative budget for fiscal 2023 back in June, which included a number of suggested reforms for Medicare and Social Security that aim to possibly prevent a looming solvency crisis for both programs. These reforms include raising the eligibility ages for each program, along with withholding payments for individuals who retire early or had a certain income, and privatized funding for Social Security to lower income taxes.” [Politico, 10/17/22

“…[L]ast year’s Republican Study Committee (RSC) fiscal year 2023 budget plan offers a disturbing roadmap of the kind of radical Medicaid cuts House Republicans may demand. It would cut total federal Medicaid, CHIP and Affordable Care Act marketplace subsidy spending by nearly half over the next decade, relative to current law. Notably, about three-quarters of the House Republican caucus are now members of the RSC.” [Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, 1/23/23]

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the number four position in Senate Republican leadership: “Secrecy is essential, she said, ‘so we’re not being scrutinized by this group or the other, and just have an open and honest conversation about what are some of the ideas that we have for maintaining Social Security in the future.’” [Los Angeles Times, 9/6/19]

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): “The reality of Social Security, it’s a legal ponzi scheme, it’s a pay as you go program. Money is paid in by workers and there’s less than three workers per retiree. None of that money’s being put away. It’s all being spent, but in its place is a government bond that has no value to the government. When the Social Security turns that bond in to the treasury, the treasury has to float another bond to pay out the benefits. So it’s truly a legal ponzi scheme.” [The Jay Weber Show, 2/9/23]

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), top Republican member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary: “Like the Republican Study Committee, he also suggested adjusting the qualifying age for Social Security and Medicare upward. .. ‘Let’s do something like [former Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-Mass.] would do: Get Republicans and Democrats to find a way — like the Gang of Six, the Simpson-Bowles plan,’ Graham said, referring to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that was created in 2010 with a focus on deficit reduction. ‘We’re going to have to adjust the age one more time like Ronald Reagan and Tip — Tip O’Neill did,’ he added, referring to the former Republican president and former Democratic House Speaker. ‘There is a bipartisan way forward.’“ [The Hill, 2/8/23]

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): “One thing that you probably haven’t ever heard from a politician: it will be my objective to phase out Social Security. To pull it up by the roots, and get rid of it.” [Newsweek, 11/3/22]

51 current House Republicans & 22 current Senate Republicans voted to destroy Medicare as we know it by turning it into a privatized voucher program. (Senate Vote ; House Vote)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY), Minority Leader
Sen. John Thune (SD), Minority Whip
Sen. John Barrasso (WY), Conference Chair
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) [as a House member], Vice Chair
Sen. John Boozman (AR)
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA)
Sen. Mike Crapo (ID)
Sen. Jim Risch (ID)
Sen. Todd Young (IN) [as a House member]
Sen. Jerry Moran (KS)
Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) [as a House member]
Sen. Roger Wicker (MS)
Sen. John Hoeven (ND)
Sen. James Lankford (OK) [as a House member]
Sen. Tim Scott (SC) [as a House member]
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN) [as a House member]
Sen. John Cornyn (TX)
Sen. Mike Lee (UT)
Sen. Ron Johnson (WI)
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (WY) [as a House member]

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-20), Speaker
Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01), Majority Leader
Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-15), Agriculture Chair
Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12), Appropriations Chair
Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03), Armed Service Chair
Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Education & Labor Chair
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Energy & Commerce Chair
Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Financial Services Chair
Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), Foreign Affairs Chair
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04), Judiciary Chair
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04), Rules Chair
Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03), Science, Space & Technology Chair
Rep. Sam Graves (MO-06), Transportation & Infrastructure Chair
Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04)
Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01)
Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03)
Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-01)
Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-09)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-05)
Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-41)
Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-48)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
Rep. Bill Posey (FL-08)
Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-11)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-16)
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-26)
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08)
Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02)
Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-08)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02)
Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04)
Rep. Harold Rogers (KY-05)
Rep. Andy Harris (MD-01)
Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-04)
Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-05)
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03)
Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03)
Rep. Christopher Smith (NJ-04)
Rep. Robert Latta (OH-05)
Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06)
Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16)
Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02)
Rep. Jeffrey Duncan (SC-03)
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03)
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-17)
Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Rep. John Carter (TX-31)
Rep. Robert Wittman (VA-01)
Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09)