Earlier today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) — who serves as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee — appeared on MNSBC to discuss upcoming budget negotiations. After being probed by the television anchor about cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits, Wasserman Schultz said that “what we don’t need to do, I canAi??tell you, is cut benefits”:
TAMRON HALL: How muchAi??leeway will the left give theAi??president regarding entitlementAi??reform?Ai?? He met with union leadersAi??yesterday.Ai??they have the president’s backAi??at this point but where does theAi??balance come from?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, it is going to beAi??difficult and challenging, butAi??anything worth doing is worthAi??doing well and together. You know, we have shownAi??repeatedly that when the twoAi??parties come together like Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan on Social Security reform we canAi??add years of solvency and toAi??medicare and do it and increaseAi??benefits like with Obamacare and we need both sides to beAi??willing.Ai?? I know the Democrats areAi??willing. President Obama’s willing to sitAi??down at the table. What we don’t need to do, I canAi??tell you, is cut benefits. That’s something that I don’tAi??think is the first thing thatAi??should be put forward. We have a lot of opportunity toAi??continue to make reforms inAi??medicare, make sure we build inAi??more efficiencies to the programAi??so we can add the years ofAi??solvency.
TAMRON HALL: What about eligibility ageAi??change?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, eligibility age changeAi??would fall in the realm ofAi??benefit cuts. We need to focus like I saidAi??first on making sure we build inAi??more efficiencies to theAi??program.Ai??we have been able to from ObamaAi??care make sure that with thatAi??$716 billion in savings plowedAi??in to waste, fraud and abuse –Ai??fighting waste, fraud and abuseAi??we have collected more than $10Ai??billion in fraudulent medicareAi??payments and we can make moreAi??progress in that area, as well.
One Democrat who has indicated that he would be willing to support such cuts is Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD). We’re making calls to his office to ask him to oppose these assaults on Medicare and Social Security. Click here to join this effort.