House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed Sunday that he didn’t expect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare to be around when he retires.
“What we [House Republicans] have said is this: We’ll protect today’s seniors and those nearing retirement, but for the rest of us, all of us, who are 54 and younger, I know the programs are not going to be there for me when I retire,” Cantor told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
“They can’t,” he added.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled last week the Republican plan to cut $6 trillion from federal spending over ten years, including deep cuts to entitlements. Medicaid alone would be cut by $760 billion.
“The Medicaid reductions are off the baseline,” Cantor explained. “So what we’re saying is allow states to have the flexibility to deal with their populations, their indigent populations and the health care needs the way they know how to deal with them.”
“But you are giving them less money to do it,” Wallace noted.
“In terms of the baseline, that is correct,” Cantor admitted. “We believe that if you put in place the mechanisms that allow for personal choice as far as Medicare is concerned, as well as the programs in Medicaid, that we can actually get to a better resolve and do what most Americans are learning how to do, which is to do more with less.”
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 76 percent of Americans consider it unacceptable to cut Medicare, while 67 oppose cutting Medicaid, despite their deficit concerns.
Cantor also told NPR last week that it simply wasn’t possible for America’s most beloved entitlement programs to survive.
“We’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be,” he said.
“Eric Cantor’s statement underscores that, now, [Republicans] are willing to turn on seniors by taking away the very bedrock of their financial and health security,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) said during at Thursday conference call.
“With all due respect, what the Congresswoman is saying is simply untrue — Eric has made clear for months that he is committed to ensuring the long-term viability of these programs by addressing their solvency issues now,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told Raw Story.
Watch this video from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast April 10, 2011.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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