Republicans Openly Acknowledge Social Security And Medicare As Top Priority Targets, Claims They’re The ‘Real Drivers Of Debt’

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Oct 22, 2023

During the second vote on U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s nomination for the next House Speaker, a right-wing lawmaker interrupted the Republican internal strife to emphasize their shared objective: reducing programs crucial for the healthcare and everyday expenses of millions of Americans.

'The Real Drivers Of Debt'

In support of Jordan, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) urged his fellow GOP members to recognize Jordan’s “courage” in tackling the “real drivers of debt, and we all know what they are. We all know it’s Social Security, we all know it’s Medicare, we all know it’s Medicaid.”


Source: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Debt Commission

Cole recounted his own efforts with former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) to propose changes to Social Security, comparable to those made in 1983 when benefits for retirees were effectively reduced by 13%.

He expressed frustration over the lack of support for their initiative, stating, “[Jordan] is the guy that wants to create a debt commission, a bipartisan debt commission, and address the root causes of our spending problem. That takes courage.”


Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reduce Spending

Progressives have long issued warnings that upon securing the White House and majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans would swiftly move to reduce spending on Social Security and Medicare.

According to the advocacy group Social Security Works, Social Security is primarily funded through contributions from workers and employers, and, as a result, the program does not contribute to the national deficit.


Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Straining The Federal Government

The party has consistently claimed that these two programs are straining the federal government’s finances, all while voting in favor of substantial military expenditures.


Source: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Never Going Bankrupt

It is emphasized that Social Security “can never go bankrupt.” Even without any Congressional intervention, Social Security could meet 100% of the promised benefits for the next 12 years, and over three-quarters of benefits beyond that period.

Source: Getty Images


Reducing Benefits

The group asserted that Jordan supports plans to reduce benefits by increasing the retirement age to 70.

Source: Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images


Poll Results

In April, an Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll revealed that 79% of Americans are against reducing Social Security benefits, and 67% oppose raising monthly premiums for Medicare, an idea that Republicans have also put forward.

Source: Pixabay


Concerns Were Raised

Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-90) expressed her concerns on Twitter, saying, “Raise your hand if you DON’T want a speaker of the House who is hellbent on cutting your hard-earned Social Security and Medicare.”

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images


Curtailing Earned Benefits

Social Security Works noted that while Republicans have yet to unite behind a speaker, they agree with their intentions to curtail earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.