Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) confronted a top Biden administration official on Wednesday over President Joe Biden's repeated claims that Republicans want to cut Social Security.
What is the background?
In recent months, the president has argued without evidence that Republicans want to slash the social safety net.
Republicans have denied the charges vehemently. The only evidence that Biden and Democrats cite is Sen. Rick Scott's proposal in which all federal spending would sunset after five years unless Congress renews it.
What happened at the hearing?
At a Senate Budget Committee hearing, Romney confronted Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, over Biden's narrative about Republicans and Social Security.
What followed was an intense back-and-forth in which Romney cornered Young into making a critical admission.
At first, Romney fought Young over whether current members of Congress have proposed cutting Social Security. She claimed that "current members have well-known policies out there to cut Social Security and Medicare." She did not, however, name any specific lawmakers.
"That is simply wrong, and it's not honest to say that to members of Congress. That is simply wrong," Romney chided.
It's dishonest to claim that Republicans want to cut Social Security.www.youtube.com
The Utah Republican followed up by examining Biden's budget proposal for fiscal year 2024.
"Do you recognize that, in the next 10 years or so, that the trust fund on Social Security is going to run out, and under the law, benefits would be cut dramatically — like 25%. You're aware of that?" Romney asked.
"I'm aware," Young acknowledged.
"That's a problem, right?" Romney followed up, to which Young responded affirmatively.
"Well, why is it, then, that in the president’s budget, there’s no effort to address that whatsoever?" Romney then asked.
The point of Romney's question is clear. Biden falsely claims Republicans want to cut Social Security. But his own budget does not address insolvency issues with Social Security and Medicare, effectively slashing them, because if funding issues are not addressed, the money dries up. But Young did not answer, instead returning to Romney's previous question.
"While we clearly disagree on this, there are some who have policies on websites — I'm happy to print them and send them to the committee — whether they have changed their position is another thing — who want to cut –" Young began before Romney cut her off.
"I'm sorry, that was not the question," Romney interjected. "I'm sorry, you've got to answer the questions, as opposed to change the topic."
Young, however, refused to answer the question.
"This president believes the biggest threat to Social Security are those who want to cut it," she said. "His budget says no."
"There's nobody in this committee that wants to cut it," Romney corrected. "I know of no Republican or Democrat in the House or the Senate who is proposing cutting Social Security benefits, and it's dishonest to keep saying it. It's offensive and dishonest and not realistic."
The question then becomes, according to Romney, is why Biden is not taking steps to "protect" Social Security from its insolvency issues.
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