Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered to help his colleague Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Crossfire on Tuesday seek higher tax payments out of the country’s richest citizens on Tuesday — if Sanders agreed to help him reform the tax code in a certain way.
“I will create a tax code that creates jobs for more Americans, because that’s a good thing,” Graham told Sanders. “But I would tell the wealthy people, ‘When it comes to Medicare, you’re not gonna get any more subsidies. When it comes to Social Security, you’re gonna have to take less, because we can’t afford to give everybody what we promised.’ If you will help me reform entitlements, I’ll help you reform the tax code, because we’re becoming Greece if we don’t do this.”
Graham explained that he supported “harmonizing” an eligibility change to both Medicare and Social Security, raising the entry age from 65 to 67 years old, as well as “means testing” for people in higher income brackets like himself, Jones and Gingrich.
“But you also support the chained CPI, which would cut $650 from Social Security benefits between the ages of 65 and 70, and make massive cuts to disabled [veterans],” Sanders countered, a statement Graham did not contest.
“What I’m trying to do is save the country from bankruptcy,” he responded. “And when the President of the United States — who I usually don’t agree with — put CPI on the table, I thought it was a very courageous thing to do.”
Graham repeated his call for Sanders to help him “flatten the tax code,” prompting Sanders to explain his interpretation of the Republican’s plan.
“I want everybody to understand, when Lindsey talks about ‘reforming entitlements,’ what he means is cutting Social Security and cutting Medicare,” Sanders told the hosts.
Watch the debate, aired by CNN on Tuesday, below.