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AFL-CIO denounces GOP plan to cut earned benefits

Republican ‘fiscal commission’ targets Social Security and Medicare, says AFL-CIO’s Shuler


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 15, 2024) — Republicans in Congress say they want to address the national debt by forming a fiscal commission to propose cutting federal programs, including Social Security and Medicare. Saying “everything is on the table,” the GOP-controlled House Budget Committee has already advanced a bill to create this commission.

As Congress faces new deadlines to avoid a government shutdown in early March, unions and advocates for seniors are sending a clear message to federal lawmakers: Keep potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare out of any government spending bills.

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler released a statement today condemning the GOP proposal:

“The House Republican proposal for a fiscal commission is a terrible idea that would push older Americans into poverty, take away people’s health care and end up costing the government more. The labor movement stands united in our belief that slashing crucial programs like Medicare and Social Security—which millions of hardworking individuals rely on and have contributed to—will make people poorer, sicker, hungrier and even lose their homes; it also would put the pay and benefits for federal workers on the chopping block.

“This commission is a power grab that is trying to bypass the regular democratic process by hiding behind closed doors and fast-tracking a plan that escapes public scrutiny and accountability, and rips away the security older people rely on and have paid for. Working people support a revenue-centric approach that makes the ultra-rich and big corporations pay their fair share instead of a cruel commission that would send older adults into poverty and rip health care away from Americans.”

More than 100 unions and other organizations are opposed to the commission.

“We are deeply concerned that some in Congress want to include a fiscal commission that could cut Social Security and Medicare in the upcoming must-pass spending bills,” Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president for government affairs, said Tuesday “That’s just wrong. Social Security is not a driver of the nation’s debt, so it shouldn’t be cut to pay it off.”

The White House has referred to it as a “death panel for Medicare and Social Security.”

And it appears that the American people are not fooled by the “fiscal commission” effort to cut earned benefits. Polling from Data for Progress shows that a commission tasked with cutting Social Security and Medicare is extremely unpopular with voters. Seventy-two percent of likely voters, including 65 percent of Republicans, oppose the creation of such a commission. Two-thirds of voters say that if their member of Congress joined the commission, it would make them less likely to support that member for reelection.



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