U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday slammed the GOP for jockeying to slash Social Security and Medicare in the next Congress, denouncing the plan as a "moral outrage."
"At a time when poverty among seniors is increasing, and millions of elderly Americans lack sufficient income to buy the medicine or food they need, it would be a moral outrage for Congress to cut Social Security," declared Sanders in a statement released Friday. "In fact, instead of cutting Social Security benefits, we should be expanding them."
The statement by Sanders took aim at comments made last week by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who will replace Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as chairman of the House Budget Committee in the next Congress. In a conversation with reporters, Price issued numerous pledges, including to "rein in federal spending, reform the budget process and potentially roll back ObamaCare," according to paraphrasing from the Hill.
In particular, Price indicated that the Republican Party should focus on slashing "mandatory spending" on entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. "That’s where the vast majority of the challenge is," said Price, "to try to get our budget to balance and to get the economy growing again. We will continue to push on those reforms on the mandatory side."
In making those comments, Price indicated he intends to carry forward a key component of his predecessor Ryan's budget, which calls for $129 billion in cuts to Medicare.
With the Republican Party poised to dominate both the House of Representatives and the Senate when the new Congress takes over in January, the GOP is expected to launch further attacks on what many see as an essential services.
But Sanders is vowing to put up a fight. "Right now a billionaire pays the same amount into Social Security as someone who makes $117,000 a year," he recently stated. "If we lifted this cap and applied the Social Security payroll tax to income above $250,000 we could expand Social Security. That is exactly what we have got to do. And that is exactly what the American people want us to do."