GOP 'Plot to Gut Social Security Behind Closed Doors' Gains Steam in Senate Covid-19 Talks

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    • #318057

      A proposal by Sen. Mitt Romney to establish congressional committees with the specific goal of crafting legislative “solutions” for America’s federal trust fund programs has reportedly resurfaced in GOP talks over the next Covid-19 stimulus package, sparking alarm among progressive advocates who warn the Utah Republican’s bill is nothing but a stealth attack on Social Security and Medicare.

      Politico‘s Burgess Everett reported Wednesday that Romney’s TRUST Act, first introduced last October with the backing of a bipartisan group of senators, “is getting a positive reception from Senate Republicans” in coronavirus relief discussions, which are still in their early stages. The legislation, Everett noted, “could become part of the mix” for the next Covid-19 stimulus as Republicans once again claim to be concerned about the growing budget deficit.

      Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), told Common Dreams in an interview that he is not at all surprised to see Romney’s bill crop up again and said it should be diligently opposed.

      NCPSSM vocally condemned the TRUST Act when it was unveiled last year, warning that—if passed—the measure “would likely result in cuts to the earned benefits of seniors, people with disabilities, and survivors.”

      Richtman noted that in a House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee roundtable discussion this week, the idea of establishing commissions to study possible changes to Social Security—though not Romney’s bill specifically—was floated by GOP members, an indication that the New Deal-era program is very much on the minds, and potentially in the crosshairs, of Republican lawmakers.

      “Social Security is the piggy bank that Republicans seem to go to whenever it dawns on them that we’ve gotta do something about the debt,” Richtman said, “notwithstanding the fact that they passed a huge tax cut that added trillions to the debt and benefited mostly wealthy individuals and corporations.”

      Speaking to Politico this week, two Republican congressmen—Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.)—cited the coronavirus pandemic’s possible effects on Social Security to call for a commission to study the program and recommend reforms. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), meanwhile, is pushing for an expansion of benefits funded by lifting the payroll tax cap, which would make wealthier Americans pay more.

      “I don’t know when we’re going to decide to take up the issue,” said Womack. “I hope and I pray that it’s not when we have no other real options other than something draconian like big cuts.”

      Richtman warned that in the near future the public is likely “going to start hearing more and more” GOP proposals to cut Social Security under the guise of “entitlement reform” as the party suddenly rediscovers its concern for the mounting deficit.

      “Obviously this is a way to push in cuts to Social Security and Medicare without leaving fingerprints, or not many fingerprints,” Richtman said of the TRUST Act.

      Romney’s legislation—which currently has 10 Senate co-sponsors, including five Democrats—would give the Treasury Department 45 days to present Congress with a report on the federal government’s “endangered” trust funds. Congress would then establish one “rescue committee” per trust fund with a “mandate to draft legislation that restores solvency and otherwise improves each trust fund program.”

      “If a Rescue Committee reports a qualifying bill for its trust fund program, it would receive expedited consideration in both chambers,” according to a summary of Romney’s bill. “While 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture for final passage in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed for the motion to proceed, which would be privileged.”

      The Utah Republican’s role as lead sponsor of the TRUST Act was sufficient reason for activists to raise serious concerns about the bill’s intentions when it was first unveiled last year.

      During his 2012 presidential run, Romney proposed raising the Social Security retirement age and privatizing Medicare. Romney’s running mate, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, was long considered the poster child for Republican efforts to gut what’s left of America’s social safety net.

      Romney’s bill was endorsed by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, the leaders of the notorious Obama-era commission that—among other sweeping changes—recommended raising Social Security’s eligibility age and slashing benefits.

      “The last thing seniors need is for Mitt Romney to get his hands on Social Security,” Richtman said in October.

      Social Security Works, a progressive advocacy group, warned in a tweet on Wednesday that the TRUST Act is “a plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors.” The group told Common Dreams that it is closely monitoring Senate talks and actions related Romney’s bill.

      Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, said in an emailed statement to Common Dreams that “at a time when current Republican policy is to let seniors die of Covid-19 by the tens of thousands without lifting a finger to help, it is beyond shameful that Mitt Romney’s focus is to rob those same older Americans of their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits.”

      “Romney’s TRUST Act would create a fast-track, closed door commission to cut Social Security and Medicare,” Lawson said. “If Republicans cared about the American people, especially seniors, they’d be passing legislation to get PPE to essential workers, help the unemployed, and rush assistance to the nursing homes that are turning into death traps.”

      “Instead,” Lawson added, “they are focused on using this pandemic as an excuse to gut our most popular and effective government programs.”

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      “A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington

      The truth is, there’s no such thing as being “anti-Fascist.” Either you are a decent human being with a conscience, or you are a fascist.
      ~ Unknown

    • #318058
      • #318214

        …we have that choice!  *sarcasm*

        If you give a man enough rope, it will be six inches too short. This is not the nature of rope- it is the nature of man.

    • #318084

      I think Id’ rather die from the virus, at least it will be quicker than starving to death.

    • #318094
      David the Gnome

      So we’ve got the CARES, HEROES, and TRUST acts.  Each of which mocks the word used to name it.  Fuckers.

    • #318110
      Cold Mountain Trail

      Corona hasn’t killed enough seniors yet — what else can we do to help?

      RMoney to the rescue!

    • #318123

      I was a taxi driver, I paid SE tax, (double FICA) 15% from the first dollar, no deductions. My SE tax was always more than my income tax. I always needed that money. Social Security was an anchor all my life. It is forcing poverty on the lower working class, period. Now the truth is what I needed was a living wage and a pension, but Social Security is no replacement.

    • #318129
      Ohio Barbarian

      Why should I vote for Democrats again?

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

      • #318142

        and King (who is an Independent).

        If those 5 Senators co-sponsor a bill, we automatically know it is bad for We, the people.

        “A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.” ~ Booker T. Washington

        The truth is, there’s no such thing as being “anti-Fascist.” Either you are a decent human being with a conscience, or you are a fascist.
        ~ Unknown

    • #318130
      Two way street

      I have always believed and still do that destroying Social Security and Medicare so that there 40 something sons and daughters would have to pick up the cost of living and medical care for their aged and disabled parents and/or siblings, would be what it would take to start a revolution in this country.  The family home would eventually be sold to pay expenses along the way toward eventual State Medicaid after bankrupting the family.  The values of the home would end up going to pay medical bills instead of its value being inherited by those sons and/or daughters.  They are taking every damn thing away from us trough Congressional legal thievery.

      The 1% got us where they want us, living paycheck to paycheck with no savings for an emergency.

      Home loss due to late or no mortgage payments, commences May 26, 2020 over the COVID-19 pandemic they are using to attack We the People in my opinion.  Congress gave no assistance for May 2020 to the 80%.

      We need a whole new Congress and a third party; one for the People.

      2020 Campaign Season: We the People are in the fight for our lives and livelihoods.

    • #318155

      ..this plan has a great chance of getting through.If Trump wins the Democrats will go through the appearance of opposing it.

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