Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) claimed House Republicans are “adamant” about preserving entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare while legislators debate the debt ceiling.
Banks’ remarks came after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) last week that the United States had reached its $31.3 trillion debt cap. Yellen assured McCarthy that she would take “exceptional steps” to keep the US from defaulting on its debt.
According to Banks, House Republicans have a “responsibility to use the majority the American people gave us to address genuine spending reforms.”
“So The debt ceiling sets up a chance for us to have a meaningful dialogue. I hope Democrats will come to the table,” added Banks. “I’m hoping President Biden will come to the table. I hope that Senate Leader Schumer and the Senate Democrats would sit down with House Republicans and see where we can all agree. That is the essence of a negotiation.”
“Do you want Medicare and Social Security to be discussed as part of these talks?” Costa inquired of Banks.
“No,” Banks said decisively. “I can speak for the great majority of Republicans in the majority: I don’t think any of us would like to touch Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or other programs on which seniors and others rely today or will eventually depend on.”
“Now, there’s an intense effort in the Republican Party, as strong as I’ve ever seen, not to touch those programs. We may make modifications in the future — far into the future — to safeguard systems like Social Security for future generations,” Banks continued.
Banks recommended slashing spending for “bloated” federal departments during the pandemic.
“I believe those are areas where we could begin, but the simple approach today is to look at where we can minimize needless spending,” Banks stated. “I mean, trillions of dollars were spent in the name of COVID — some of it to address the pandemic, but a lot of it didn’t have anything to do with the pandemic — that inflated every single government department.”
Banks has warned that unless Congress makes serious reforms, the next generation of Americans would “carry the weight of a $32 trillion, and increasing, national debt. And if we simply punt on it and approve a clean debt ceiling hike once more,” he said, “then my daughter’s generation, our kids and grandkids, will watch that $32 trillion national debt rise to 40, 50 trillion, and beyond.”
Banks’ remarks reflect former President Donald Trump’s advice to House Republicans to take entitlement programs off the agenda during debt ceiling talks.
“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to sacrifice a single cent from Social Security or Medicare to help pay for Biden’s irresponsible spending spree, which is more reckless than anything our country has ever done or had,” Trump stated.