STATEMENT: CAP’s Neera Tanden on Sen. McConnell’s Transparent Two-Step Fiscal Agenda

Washington, D.C. — Neera Tanden, CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, released the following statement today after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in an interview with Bloomberg News, blamed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the rising federal budget deficit. Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, an increase of nearly 17 percent from the year prior. In late 2017, House and Senate Republicans passed new tax cuts—skewed to corporations and the wealthy—that the Congressional Budget Office says will add $1.9 trillion to the debt over 10 years.

Three weeks before the midterm elections, Majority Leader McConnell has framed what’s at stake in very clear terms. Republicans ran up the deficit last year to give tax cuts to the richest Americans and wealthy corporations—explicitly at the behest of their donors. Now they are turning around and planning to use those deficits as a pretext for cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. President Donald Trump’s top advisers have also made clear that they are planning benefit cuts for after the elections. They’ll undoubtedly try to give themselves and their donors even more tax cuts if the government remains under Republican control.

For conservatives, there are two sets of rules—one for them and their wealthy donors and one for everyone else. The choice is clear: tax cuts for the richest Americans, or the health and retirement security that working Americans have earned.

While proponents of the tax law claimed it would pay for itself, revenue losses are already adding substantially to deficits, as virtually every nonpartisan analyst predicted. Further, the most recent Republican budget proposed to cut $1.8 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at apreiss1@americanprogressaction.org or 202.478.6331.