REFORM- Chuck Schumer Vows No Cuts To Medicaid Amid Debt Limit Fight

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[MM Curator Summary]: Chucky says talk to the hand.


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President Joe Biden Faces Off Against Republicans

The president called out certain Republicans who have threatened to get rid of social security and some members of the GOP were not happy.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made clear that Democrats won’t accept cuts to Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income Americans, amid the ongoing standoff with Republicans over the nation’s borrowing limit.

“It’s a very popular program and we will defend it. We don’t think any cuts on Medicaid, just like cuts on Medicare and Social Security, should be attached to debt ceiling brinksmanship,” Schumer told HuffPost at a Wednesday press conference on Capitol Hill.

Medicaid, whose enrollment is now above 80 million, hasn’t been in the spotlight as much lately as other critical safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Republican leaders have promised that Social Security and Medicare benefits for current recipients are not on the table for cuts as it relates to talks over raising the debt limit this year, but they haven’t made a similar explicit commitment for Medicaid benefits.

Medicaid spending has been a top GOP target over the years as the party has sought to address the nation’s deficits and debt. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tried to extract Medicaid cuts from President Bill Clinton, leading to the federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996. Former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also targeted Medicaid spending in his budget proposals a decade ago.

Medicaid spending grew substantially after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which allowed states to expand the program to all people in households with incomes below or just above the poverty line.

Republican lawmakers are being careful not to spell out which specific programs they want to cut this year, speaking only in general terms about the need to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.

“I just don’t think it’s really productive in the debt ceiling talks to establish what is a sacred cow and what should be on the chopping block specifically,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) told HuffPost when asked about Medicaid. “It’s really too delicate a conversation to say that a certain aspect of our problem is totally off the table. If we do that, we are just hamstringing our own ability to come up with a creative solution.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a projection saying that the federal government won’t be able to pay its obligations beginning sometime between July and September. Congress must raise the debt limit before then or risk an unprecedented default that could rattle financial markets and harm the economy.

Biden and congressional Democrats have held firm in their position so far that the debt limit, which Republicans raised easily three times under President Donald Trump, shouldn’t be held hostage. If Republicans want to negotiate over spending, Democrats add, they should do so separately during the regular congressional budget process.

But Republicans, led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have continued to call on Biden to negotiate over spending cuts and the debt limit. They’ve yet to release a plan for their desired spending restrictions and the clock is ticking.

“Very soon the MAGA brigade will see that the Speaker made a bunch of promises that he won’t be able to keep. And I worry greatly that the dangers of slipping into default will only increase as the toxic dynamic within the House GOP gets worse day by day,” Schumer said Wednesday.