The House GOP caucus is a glutton for political punishment.
Republicans have flirted with a masochistic agenda in their first few days controlling the House, essentially doubling down on the same right-wing priorities that led much of the country to rebuke them in historic fashion during the 2022 midterm elections.
That agenda includes advocating for investigations into President Joe Biden, vehemently opposing student debt relief, passing anti-abortion measures, and ogling the so-called third rail of American politics: cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Social Security is particularly popular among older Americans. And when it comes to Medicare, an overwhelming majority of the people want to expand its benefits to nearly all Americans. This explains why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell downplayed his party members publicly floating cuts to both programs last year.
I don’t know what’s in the Florida water, but some of the most outspoken House members calling for changes to these popular entitlement programs have come from the Sunshine State.
Rep. Michael Waltz is one of them. “If we really want to talk about the debt and spending, it’s the entitlement programs,” he told Fox Business this week, referring to potential spending cuts.
And then there was Rep. Byron Donalds, who tried to dance around his support for privatizing Social Security during Tuesday’s interview with Joy on "The ReidOut."
Watch a clip here:
On Wednesday’s episode, Joy invited Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., to explain why Donalds’ claim that Social Security is in danger of insolvency is nothing more than a tired GOP talking point.
Check it out here:
I should note here: Donalds on Tuesday repeatedly cited his past experience in the finance industry to suggest he’s an authority on money moves. But his past also includes pleading guilty in 2000 to a felony bribery charge in a plot to defraud a bank. (The charge was later expunged). So maybe take his financial insight with a grain of salt. I also can’t help but laugh at Donalds — and other pro-privatization Republicans, really — claiming entitlement funds would be better off in the hands of Wall Street traders.
Funny how Republicans claim to despise elites, except the elites on Wall Street who they think deserve access to Americans’ Social Security and Medicare dollars. Let Republicans tell it, virtually all of New York is a hellscape … except for the block where the New York Stock Exchange is located.
Given Kevin McCarthy essentially relinquished his power to a faction of far-right lawmakers to win their support for the role of House speaker, it’s entirely possible Republicans move forward with votes to slash Medicare and Social Security. And I fully expect them to face political consequences for doing so.