WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that cuts to Medicare and Social Security should be “on the table for the long term,” distancing himself from former President Donald Trump as he considers a run for the Oval Office.
“We’re looking at a debt crisis in this country over the next 25 years, driven by entitlements, and nobody in Washington, D.C. wants to talk about it,” Pence said on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
The future of major eligibility programs is rapidly shaping up to be a battleground state for the 2024 Republican presidential primary, especially between early frontrunners: Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is taking place against the backdrop of President Joe Biden using his State of the Union address to criticize GOP proposals to reduce entitlement programs, including a revised plan by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. , who would have kept them. Risk of dismissal every five years.
Trump has long positioned himself as the savior of Medicare and Social Security, and he is doing so again as he seeks a return to the presidency. While his annual budget included proposals to reduce Medicare spending, he primarily targeted provider payments rather than benefits. His efforts to limit Social Security spending were aimed at cutting disability benefits, not checks for retirees.
“Under no circumstances will we allow anyone to cut Medicare or Social Security for our nation’s senior citizens,” Trump said Monday in a speech at Club 47 in West Palm Beach, Fla. “We’re not going to allow that. They paid, and you can’t allow that and you shouldn’t allow that.”
Trump hoped for a sharp contrast with DeSantis, whom he singled out earlier this week in a Truth Social post: “Ron DeSanctimonius wants to cut your Social Security and Medicare,” Trump wrote.
DeSantis is widely expected to run for president, but has not yet entered the race.
As a member of Congress, DeSantis voted for a series of non-binding budget proposals developed by the GOP leadership and the conservative Republican Study Committee, which reformed Medicare by converting it to a premium-support system and raising the eligibility age for beneficiaries. It must have been reshaped. The budgets supported by DeSantis would have made more modest changes to Social Security.
Pence, a former RSC chairman, declined Wednesday to elaborate on how he would change key entitlement programs, but said changes must be made — even as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. that he would not use one. The ensuing battle over raising the debt ceiling to try to cut Medicare and Social Security.
“We all know where the real issue lies in terms of the long-term debt for the United States, and that, while I respect the speaker’s commitment to taking Social Security and Medicare off the table for debt-limit negotiations Well, we’ve got to keep them on the table for the long term,” Pence said.
It’s clear they’ll be at the table in the battle for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.