Boehner Prepares to Launch Sneak Attack on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

July 13, 2011

Boehner Prepares to Launch Sneak Attack on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Shrouded in So-Called “Balanced Budget Amendment”

Tipping The Scales Against America’s Seniors: Republican Balanced Budget Amendment Would Force Deep Cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, While Protecting Tax Breaks for Millionaires, Big Oil and Job-Outsourcing Corporations

Ø  From ABC News, July 13: House Speaker John Boehner released a new video blog today on his website, expressing his support for the balanced budget amendment that the House of Representatives will consider next week, but Democrats are indicating their opposition to the bill they describe as "extreme and draconian."

House Republicans made very clear when the passed their budget on April 15 that they intend to dismantle Medicare and decimate Medicaid one way or another to pay for more tax breaks for big oil and jet-owning CEO’s.  Poll after poll after poll shows the American people have resoundingly rejected their plan, and many outraged seniors have shown up at town halls across the country to express their disapproval to their Representatives personally.   And so it’s no surprise that these Republicans -- who remain as determined as ever to shred the social safety nets that keep millions of seniors, children, survivors and people with disabilities out of poverty -- would look for a back door way to achieving their goals.   Enter the “Balanced Budget Amendment.” 

GOP’s “Balanced Budget Amendment” = “sweeping cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security”

Ø  National Women’s Law Center: Current Proposals for a Balanced Budget Amendment Are More Extreme and Dangerous Than Earlier Versions: Capping future spending below Reagan-era levels would force sweeping cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, child care, education, and many other critical programs. 

Ø  CBPP: Balanced Budget Amendment Would Require More Extreme Cuts Than Ryan Plan: “It contains deeper Medicare cuts than the Ryan budget. The RSC budget includes the Ryan proposals to convert Medicare to vouchers and raise its eligibility age from 65 to 67, but it raises the eligibility age sooner than the Ryan budget would.  It raises the Social Security retirement age to 70. It also contains cuts of almost unimaginable depth in the core programs for the poorest and most disadvantaged Americans: in 2021, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), and Supplemental Security Income would all be cut in half…It cuts at least $86 billion over ten years from Pell Grants, which help low-income students afford college.”  


Ø  CBPP: A Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Threatens Great Economic Damage: “…the amendment would force policymakers to cut spending, raise taxes, or both just when the economy is weak or already in recession — the exact opposite of what good economic policy would advise… Social Security could not draw down its reserves from previous years to pay benefits in a later year but, instead, could be forced to cut benefits even if it had ample balances in its trust funds as it does today. The same would be true for military retirement and civil service retirement programs. Nor could the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation respond quickly to bank or pension fund failures by using their assets to pay deposit or pension insurance, unless they could do so without causing the budget to slip out of balance.”


Ø  Democratic House Budget staff: The balanced budget constitutional amendment (H. J. Res. 1) recently approved by the Judiciary Committee is a masquerade designed to foster the policy choices of the Republican budget: to end the Medicare guarantee for seniors and slash vital services while providing tax breaks for the wealthy. This balanced budget amendment would have dire consequences on the economy, on Medicare and other government guarantees to our citizens, and on Congress’s ability to respond to changing needs.


Ø  Economic Policy Institute: “Beyond shrinking government to implausibly low levels, the House BBA would also irrationally constrain fiscal policy during recessions…As we argued before, parliamentary restrictions on tax increases and budget deficits would amplify political gridlock, handicap fiscal policy, and intensify economic downturns by ruling out effective responses to both cyclical events and unforeseen emergencies.”

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