Mnuchin Admits Trump’s Budget Cuts Social Security Even as President Claims He Is ‘Not Touching’ the Program 

Mnuchin Admits Trump’s Budget Cuts Social Security Even as President Claims He Is ‘Not Touching’ the Program

“When Steve Mnuchin or any other politician says that a ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ is different than a benefit cut, they are shamelessly lying.”

By Jake Johnson

During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin—using euphemistic language Democratic lawmakers described as “Washington-speak“—admitted that President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal would cut Social Security days after the president insisted he is “not touching” the program.

“Any ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ would lead to benefit cuts.”
—Alex Lawson, Social Security Works

Pressed by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) on the budget’s call for tens of billions in cuts to Social Security over the next decade, Mnuchin said, “I believe it’s not a cut, it’s a reduction in the rate of increase. And it’s not to the benefits of people on Social Security.”

“If that is not a cut, then I would love to talk to you about what it is this administration values and what they see, how these groups and important individuals in our communities are being affected,” responded Cortez Masto. “My concern is this administration says one thing, but their actions are just the opposite.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, tweeted in response to the exchange that “Mnuchin admits Trump’s budget cuts your earned benefits in Social Security.”

“‘Slowing the rate of increase’ is Washington-speak for cutting benefits and breaking the Social Security and Medicare guarantee,” Wyden added.

Alex Lawson, executive director of progressive advocacy group Social Security Works, told Common Dreams that “only a true creature of Wall Street could try telling people that even though they are getting less money it isn’t ‘really’ a cut.’

“This administration’s budget is built on policies that pillage working families to pay for brand new windfalls for corporations and the wealthy.”
—Sen. Ron Wyden

“When Steve Mnuchin or any other politician says that a ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ is different than a benefit cut, they are shamelessly lying,” Lawson said. “If Social Security benefits were to stay flat every year, they would quickly begin losing value due to inflation. We need to make annual cost-of-living adjustments more generous, not less.”

“Social Security’s total spending also increases yearly due to growth in the population of beneficiaries, something that the program’s actuaries have known about and planned for decades in advance,” added Lawson. “Any ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ would lead to benefit cuts.”

Mnuchin’s comments came days after Trump said following the release of his $4.8 trillion budget on Monday that he is “not touching Medicare” and “not touching Social Security.”

But the president’s plan calls for billions in cuts to both programs. The budget specifically targets the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program with nearly $30 billion in cuts over the next 10 years.

“The administration argues the SSDI cut isn’t really a ‘Social Security’ reduction: White House budget documents omit the disability program’s name, describing SSDI as a ‘federal disability program,'” HuffPost reported Wednesday. “But these are cuts nonetheless.”

During his opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing, Wyden called Trump’s proposed budget “a perfect snapshot of this administration’s policies robbing working families to pay off special interests and those at the top.”

“This administration’s budget is built on policies that pillage working families to pay for brand new windfalls for corporations and the wealthy,” said Wyden.

Source: Mnuchin Admits Trump’s Budget Cuts Social Security Even as President Claims He Is ‘Not Touching’ the Program | Common Dreams News

Trump Budget to Propose ‘Savage’ Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security While Hiking Pentagon and Wall Funds 

Trump Budget to Propose ‘Savage’ Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security While Hiking Pentagon and Wall Funds

“This budget is Trump’s pledge that as long as he stays in office, slashing Social Security, Medicaid, and whatever’s left of SNAP will remain a White House priority.”

By Jake Johnson

ust two days after vowing the White House “will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare” in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, President Donald Trump on Monday is expected to unveil a $4.8 trillion blueprint that includes hundreds of billions in combined cuts to those programs over the next decade, deep reductions in safety-net spending, and a major increase in Pentagon funding.

“The budget reportedly includes destructive changes to Medicaid, SNAP, Social Security, and other assistance programs that help Americans make ends meet—all while extending his tax cuts for millionaires and wealthy corporations.”
—Rep. John Yarmuth

The president’s plan, according to the Wall Street Journal, calls for hiking America’s already outlandish military spending to $740.5 billion in FY2021 and pouring $2 billion more into the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, Trump’s budget would enact punishing cuts to Medicaid, food stamps, and other crucial safety net programs.

“The White House proposes to cut spending by $4.4 trillion over a decade,” the Journal reported Sunday. “Of that, it targets $2 trillion in savings from mandatory spending programs, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts—such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps—and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to federal disability benefits.”

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, issued a statement late Sunday condemning Trump’s forthcoming budget proposal as “destructive and irrational.”

“The budget reportedly includes destructive changes to Medicaid, SNAP, Social Security, and other assistance programs that help Americans make ends meet—all while extending his tax cuts for millionaires and wealthy corporations,” said Yarmuth. “Congress will stand firm against this president’s broken promises and his disregard for the human cost of his destructive policies.”

Bobby Kogan, chief mathematician for the Senate Budget Committee, echoed Yarmuth on Twitter, calling the FY2021 blueprint “enormously cruel.”

“Less than a week after promising to protect families’ healthcare in his State of the Union address, the president is now brazenly inflicting savage multi-billion-dollar cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.”
—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

On top of the steep safety net cuts, Trump’s budget proposal would also slash the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 27%, the Housing and Urban Development budget by 15%, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget by 9%—even amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Warnings that Trump has Social Security and Medicare in his crosshairs intensified last month when the president told CNBC in an interview at Davos that he is “going to look” at slashing Medicare and Social Security should he win reelection in 2020.

After 2020 Democrats and others seized upon Trump’s comments as further evidence that his 2016 campaign vow to protect Social Security and Medicare was a lie, the president has since claimed he is attempting to “save” the programs.

“We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Only the Democrats will destroy them by destroying our Country’s greatest ever Economy!”

In a statement responding to the reported details of Trump’s FY2021 budget, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday said “once again the president is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security, and well-being of hard-working American families.”

“Year after year, President Trump’s budgets have sought to inflict devastating cuts to critical lifelines that millions of Americans rely on,” said Pelosi. “Less than a week after promising to protect families’ healthcare in his State of the Union address, the president is now brazenly inflicting savage multi-billion-dollar cuts to Medicare and Medicaid—at the same time that he is fighting in federal court to destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions and dismantle every other protection and benefit of the Affordable Care Act.”

Source: Trump Budget to Propose ‘Savage’ Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security While Hiking Pentagon and Wall Funds | Common Dreams News

 

‘Screaming the Quiet Part Into a Bullhorn’: Sen. Joni Ernst Admits GOP Using Impeachment Trial to Damage Biden in 2020 

‘Screaming the Quiet Part Into a Bullhorn’: Sen. Joni Ernst Admits GOP Using Impeachment Trial to Damage Biden in 2020

“Trump is trying to use the trial to do what Ukraine wouldn’t—destroy his political rivals.”

By Jake Johnson

After President Donald Trump’s legal team on Monday completed the second day of their impeachment defense—which largely consisted of attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter—Republican Sen. Joni Ernst told reporters that she is “really interested to see” how team Trump’s performance at the Senate trial “informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus-goers.”

Ernst’s remarks, which came just a week before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, were widely viewed as an open admission that Trump’s attorneys and the Republican Party are using the Senate impeachment trial as an opportunity to damage Biden at the polls.

“This is saying the quiet part out loud,” tweeted MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake, a sentiment that was echoed by others.

“Here is Joni Ernst screaming the quiet part into a bullhorn,” said Kaili Joy Gray, executive editor of The American Independent, in response to the Iowa Republican’s comments.

Ernst’s comments run counter to the longstanding White House and Republican narrative that Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations—for which he was impeached by the House of Representatives last month—was a genuine attempt to root out corruption, not a politically motivated ploy to harm Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Like Ernst, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) also invoked the presidential election following hours of arguments by Trump’s defense team, which includes Pam Bondi, Eric Herschmann, Alan Dershowitz, and Ken Starr.

“I was watching Elizabeth [Warren] and Bernie [Sanders] and Michael [Bennet] and Amy [Klobuchar] and they were really eyes wide open during that part of it,” Barrasso told reporters, referring to Trump attorney Pam Bondi’s presentation, which heavily focused on Biden an his son.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said as he watched “Bondi and the other Trump lawyers spend most of the day savaging the Bidens (as expected)… it become crystal clear to me: Trump is trying to use the trial to do what Ukraine wouldn’t—destroy his political rivals.”

Source: ‘Screaming the Quiet Part Into a Bullhorn’: Sen. Joni Ernst Admits GOP Using Impeachment Trial to Damage Biden in 2020 | Common Dreams News