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Tags: joe manchin | gop | bipartisan | entitlements | social security | medicare | congress

Manchin's Comments Create Hope for Bipartisan Entitlements Deal

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 November 2022 09:44 AM EST

Several conservative lawmakers said they welcomed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., indicating the possibility of bipartisan entitlements reform in the next Congress.

Manchin, a moderate Democrat, suggested that lawmakers from both major parties might be able to find common ground on shoring up solvency for programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

"If we don't look at the trust funds that are going bankrupt, whether they be Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, highway, all the ones — there are tremendous problems right now," Manchin said late last week.

The senator's remarks earned early positive reaction from some Republicans.

"I gladly welcome any Democrat who puts aside partisan fear-mongering to work with us to ensure Medicare and Social Security return to solvency," Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., head of the conservative Republican Study Committee's Budget and Spending Task Force, told The Hill on Monday.

"As a longtime advocate of protecting Social Security and Medicare, Representative Smucker looks forward to working with his colleagues to save and strengthen both programs," the office of Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., also told The Hill.

Hern and Smucker are among a group of Republicans seeking to lead the House Budget Committee in the coming Congress if the party, as expected, wins control of the House in Tuesday's midterms.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has said Medicare is on target to becoming insolvent in about seven years, and Social Security's Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund could reach the same status in about 13 years.

Bob Moffit, senior research fellow in the Center for Health and Welfare Policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that insolvency would not stop benefits from being distributed, though they would not be able to satisfy all of the promised benefits.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Monday expressed doubt that a bipartisan deal could be worked out, but he added that Democrats would work with "anyone who wants to protect Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that help Americans and their families thrive."

"Unfortunately, I don't expect Republicans to join us in that commitment to put people over politics," Hoyer told The Hill.

Hoyer also attacked Republicans for threatening to use the nation's debt ceiling to secure potential spending cuts and entitlement reforms. Experts say Congress must address the debt ceiling in early 2023 or risk a historic default.

The Republican Study Committee, the House's biggest conservative caucus, released a plan that gradually would increase the "normal retirement age at a rate of three months per year until it reaches 69 for those reaching age 62 in 2030."

The proposal further plans to "realign the Social Security full retirement age to account for increases in life expectancy since the program's creation." It also proposes changing age requirements for Medicare eligibility, as well as measures geared toward promoting "better integration of private insurance with the government-run DI [Disability Insurance] system."

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Several conservative lawmakers said they welcomed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., indicating the possibility of bipartisan entitlements reform in the next Congress.
joe manchin, gop, bipartisan, entitlements, social security, medicare, congress
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2022-44-08
Tuesday, 08 November 2022 09:44 AM
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