These remarks immediately set off alarm bells for progressive lawmakers and activists, who have argued persistently over the last several weeks that slashing social programs has been the Republicans’ end goal all along.
“What’s coming next is all too predictable: The deficit hawks will come flying back after this bill becomes law,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told the Post. “Republicans are already saying ‘entitlement reform’ and ‘welfare reform’ are next up on the docket. But nobody should be fooled—that’s just code for attacks on Medicaid, on Medicare, on Social Security, on anti-hunger programs.”
“Mark my words: As soon as the Republican tax bill passes, Republicans are going to insist on cutting Medicare and Social Security to cut the deficit,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) added in a tweet Friday. “We cannot let this disastrous bill pass.”
As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, Sanders has already sent a letter to the GOP leadership demanding to know what programs Republicans plan to slash in order to offset the trillion dollar deficit their legislation is expected to create, should it pass.
In an exchange with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on the Senate floor Thursday evening, Sanders reiterated his concerns and asked his GOP colleague to “guarantee the people of this country that after this bill passes, you will not come back [and] raise the retirement age, voucherize Medicare,” and impose cuts to Social Security and other crucial safety net programs.
Toomey dodged and refused to make any such guarantee, leading Sanders to declare, “Ah, there it is! He just let the cat out of the box.”
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