AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File
- Kevin McCarthy previously said cuts to Medicare and Social Security are out of debt ceiling negotiations.
- But some House Republicans are eyeing creating panels to evaluate those programs in a debt limit deal, per Bloomberg.
- McCarthy and Biden met last week to discuss raising the debt limit, and Biden maintains it should be bipartisan.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy doesn’t want cuts to Medicare and Social Security to be included in debt limit negotiations. But it looks like his own party isn’t quite on board with that plan.
After Republicans secured a slim majority in the House, negotiations to raise the debt ceiling began — and while President Joe Biden has maintained that ensuring the US can continue paying its bills can be done in a bipartisan way, the GOP is using the debt limit as a bargaining chip to achieve their own priorities, particularly with major spending cuts.
While some Republicans said those cuts could impact Medicare and Social Security, McCarthy made clear last month that he will leave those programs out of negotiations.
“Let’s take those off the table” he said during a CBS interview. “If you read our Commitment to America, all we talk about is strengthening Medicare and Social Security. So — and I know the president says he doesn’t want to look at it, but we’ve got to make sure we strengthen those.”
As Bloomberg reported on Monday, though, some House Republicans are still looking at including those programs in debt limit talks. They’ve introduced two pieces of legislation — the Trust Act and the Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act — to be included in a debt limit deal, which would create commissions to consider the solvency of Social Security and Medicare. Of the legislation, GOP Rep. Kevin Hern said he “wouldn’t think it’d be off the table.”
“I would hope it wouldn’t be,” he said.
Hern’s proposals did not specifically address Medicare and Social Security, but Hern told Bloomberg creating a commission to evaluate the solvency of those programs could be a part of the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. Still, McCarthy appears unlikely to be swayed.
“I don’t need a commission to tell me where there’s waste, fraud, and abuse,” McCarthy told reporters at the White House last week. “I don’t need a commission to tell us where we’re spending too much.”
McCarthy met with Biden last week to discuss raising the debt ceiling, and the White House put out a statement following the meeting that said “President Biden made clear that, as every other leader in both parties in Congress has affirmed, it is their shared duty not to allow an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default. It is not negotiable or conditional.”
As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously told McCarthy, the US began using “extraordinary measures” to keep the US afloat in January, and those measures are expected to run out at some point this summer. That means Republicans must raise the debt ceiling before then — something they agreed to do three times under former President Donald Trump (who recently told the GOP to leave Medicare and Social Security out of debt limit negotiations).
“I would like to see if we can come to an agreement long before the deadline,” McCarthy said following his meeting with Biden. “We have different perspectives. But we both laid out some of our vision of where we want to get to, and I believe after laying both out, I can see where we can find common ground.”