Republicans are backing away from proposals to reduce spending on Social Security and Medicare as they enter talks with Democrats over raising the nation’s borrowing limit, sidelining for now a politically perilous fight over how to best firm up the finances of the popular benefit programs.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) has said he wants to slash federal spending in exchange for voting to raise the debt ceiling, but in recent days he stressed publicly and privately that he isn’t seeking cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Democrats for weeks have pressed Republicans to provide more specifics of what they plan to cut, while warning against entitlement-eligibility changes some GOP lawmakers had sought to tie to a debt-limit deal.
Following a meeting with President Biden on Wednesday, Mr. McCarthy reiterated that Social Security and Medicare, which account for large and growing chunks of the budget, were off the table in debt-ceiling discussions. “No, we’re not talking about that,” he told reporters, while providing no details about where he saw potential savings. He also threw cold water on the idea of a commission to recommend cuts to the programs.
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