In her Dec. 24 op-ed, “Tax bill will help all in S.W. Washington,” Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler claims, with respect to the recently-enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that “One of the most irresponsible claims is that this bill will cut Social Security or Medicare,” that “nothing in this bill touches Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid,” and that “Congress won’t cut those programs to finance tax cuts.”
This might be technically true, but it’s also misleading. True, there are no specific cuts to these programs in the new law, but what is in this law is a $1.5 trillion deficit. This deficit is already being used as justification for upcoming cuts to “entitlement spending” (code words for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently said “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” So when they say “entitlements,” they mean cuts to exactly what Herrera Beutler says isn’t going to be touched: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
So, here’s her chance to get squarely out in front of this. When she says she “would oppose any attempt to weaken” Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, does it mean she’ll absolutely vote against any cuts? Or not?