January 30, 2020

Udall, Heinrich Demand Trump Publicly Commit to Protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

Last week, President Trump said he’d consider cutting Medicare & Social Security to pay for his tax scam—a handout to corporations at the expense of workers

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined Senate Democrats in demanding President Trump retract statements he made about cutting earned benefits like Medicare or Social Security in order to pay for his 2017 tax scam—a handout to corporations and the ultra-wealthy at the expense of working families and older Americans.

Despite Republican claims that the bill is a tax cut for working people, it has proven to be nothing more than a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy. The Trump-Republican tax bill also exploded the deficit – which Republicans planned to use as their justification for cutting the benefits of hard-working Americans. Udall, Heinrich and their colleagues are demanding Trump publicly commit to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the remainder of his Presidency.

Despite his promises to protect Medicaid on the campaign trail, President Trump has continually attacked the program. The most recent attack on Medicaid by the Trump administration is a proposal to cut benefits by allowing states to cap federal funding for adults covered by Medicaid. This latest proposal will reportedly also allow states to limit health benefits and life-saving drugs for some individuals. 

Federally-funded healthcare is a critical resource for New Mexicans. As of October 2019, 735,159 New Mexicans, or 35 percent of the state’s population, were enrolled in Medicaid and/or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  

“As a presidential candidate, you promised the American people that you would not cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. In fact, you criticized your political opponents for failing to make the same promise. Not only have you broken that promise, you have waged an all-out assault on Medicaid,” the senators wrote. “Attempting to make up the trillion-dollar deficit created by your tax law on the backs of hard-working Americans would be a betrayal to all who consider these programs a lifeline.”

The senators continued, “American workers who for decades have paid into Social Security and Medicare should not be forced to relinquish their health and retirement security to pay for your tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations.”

In addition to Udall and Heinrich, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Il.), Richard Durbin (D-Il.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D -N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) penned this letter to the President. 

A copy of the letter can be found below and HERE:

Dear President Trump, 

We are alarmed by comments you made this week while in Davos, Switzerland, that suggest you plan to cut vital entitlement programs. Asked if such cuts would be on your agenda, you responded: “At some point they will be […] toward the end of the year,” and that cutting such critical programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be “the easiest of all things.”  We urge you to retract these statements and publicly commit to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the remainder of your Presidency. 

Social Security and Medicare are vital programs that millions of Americans earned and rely on. Medicare provides quality health insurance for 44 million older Americans and people with disabilities. Social Security provides critical income for 64 million Americans.  Cutting these programs would be a direct attack on working Americans, and would violate the repeated promises you made not to cut Social Security or Medicare as a presidential candidate. 

In 2017, you signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), legislation passed by a Republican-controlled Congress that lavished the wealthy and corporations with significant tax cuts. Not only did these tax cuts go overwhelmingly to the wealthy – further fueling economic inequality– they also exploded our nation’s deficit. The tax cuts appear to be adding even more to the deficit than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected soon after TCJA’s enactment – due largely to dramatic reductions in corporate tax revenue.

Your tax law is fueling the budget deficit used by you and members of your administration to justify deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Following its passage, CBO estimated your tax law would add $1.9 trillion to the deficit over the 2018-27 period.  Indeed, the Department of Treasury recently reported that the federal deficit surpassed $1 trillion in 2019.  We will not allow the higher deficits brought about by your tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations to be used as a cynical justification to fulfill the long-held Republican endeavor to destroy Social Security and Medicare.

As a presidential candidate, you promised the American people that you would not cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. In fact, you criticized your political opponents for failing to make the same promise.  Not only have you broken that promise, you have waged an all-out assault on Medicaid. Attempting to make up the trillion dollar deficit created by your tax law on the backs of hard-working Americans would be a betrayal to all who consider these programs a lifeline.  American workers who for decades have paid into Social Security and Medicare should not be forced to relinquish their health and retirement security to pay for your tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations. 

We urge you to immediately clarify your plans for these programs, direct your administration officials to refrain from cutting or otherwise attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and publicly commit to the American people that you will not cut these earned benefits for the remainder of your Presidency. The American people who have paid for and rely on these programs deserve nothing less.  

Sincerely,