Republicans just cannot give up on their dream of ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Nor can they give up on the idea that they’ll be shielded from the voters’ blowback of cutting those programs if they get someone else to tell them to do it. That’s what they tried back in 2010 with the Bowles-Simpson fiscal committee, dubbed the “catfood commission” by the left, and again with the failed “super committee” in 2011.
The House Budget Committee was back at it this week, approving yet another fiscal commission they want to see included in the final appropriations package they should be voting on in March, having kicked that can down the road again with the short-term funding bill they passed this week. They want another commission that could fast-track cuts to social insurance programs, blocking efforts by Democrats to add protections for those programs in the bill.
The House GOP has been harping on this since they regained the majority in 2022. They tried to include a fiscal commission in their failed attempt to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government back in September. It even featured highly in the fight to find a new speaker after the Freedom Caucus ousted Kevin McCarthy last fall.
Cutting the programs took center stage when GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma nominated Jim Jordan for the job. Jordan showed “courage,” Cole said, in fighting “to get at the real drivers of debt, and we all know what they are. We all know it’s Social Security, we all know it’s Medicare, we all know it’s Medicaid.”
We all know that cutting these programs has been at the top of Republicans’ wish list since the programs were created decades ago. It’s never going to change. But it is providing yet another powerful opportunity for President Joe Biden to shine.