Summer Lee Delivers Scathing Explainer on Republican Plan to Gut Social Security and Medicare, Devastating Impact to Nearly 3 Million Pennsylvanians and 100,000 in PA-12 

**For Immediate Release**

Emilia.Rowland@Mail.house.gov | 330.212.2065

Summer Lee Delivers Scathing Explainer on Republican Plan to Gut Social Security and Medicare, Devastating Impact to Nearly 3 Million Pennsylvanians and 100,000 in PA-12 

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee spoke on the House floor on the need to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare for nearly three million Pennsylvanians immediately following Budget Committee Republicans’ hearing on establishing a “fiscal commission” that would aim to cut Social Security and Medicare during which the Republican Committee chairman called his party’s fight to tear social security “our generation’s World War.” 

In her scathing speech Lee breaks down Republicans’ historic and ongoing cycle of passing handouts for billionaires, attempting to gut Social Security and Medicare, and blaming immigrants and poor folks to avoid accountability by the American public. 

Cuts to Medicare and Social Security would have devastating impact on Pennsylvanians, 3 in 4 of whom worry about affording health care in the future. Nearly 3 in 5 struggled with at least one health care-related financial burden last year.  2.9 million Pennsylvanians rely on Social Security–including 179,779 in Allegheny County and 63,651 in Westmorland County, and 2.8 million Pennsylvanians rely on Medicare–including 227,727 in Allegheny County and 78,815 in Westmoreland County. Republicans’ plan would hand Medicare to insurance companies and raise the retirement age–and 9.6 million Pennsylvanians (76%) would be forced to work longer for less

Click here to download Lee’s full remarks:

Link to Full Video

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Lee said:

“I rise today on behalf of the Grandmas, Grandpas, moms, dads, neighbors, and beloved community members who have spent their lives paying into Medicare out of their own paychecks on the sacred promise that they could retire with health and dignity only to have that promise betrayed by today’s Republican party. 

I stand here on behalf of aging parents, sons and daughters fighting mental illness, loved ones who are cancer patients and stroke survivors, workers injured on the job, orphaned children, and brothers and sisters with disabilities whose access to food,  shelter, medicine, and dignified retirement depends on Social Security that Republicans are hellbent on tearing away. 

In Pennsylvania alone, 2.8 million folks depend on Medicare – 227,727 in Allegheny county…..2.9 Million depend on social security – nearly 150 thousand in my district alone. 

EVERY one of them deserves to retire in dignity with access to health care. Every one of them deserves a Congress where EVERY member has the decency to honor that sacred promise not to leave our families behind at the hardest moments of our lives. 

And the reality is that just about every American agrees – no matter where we come from, how we vote, or what color our skin is – we ALL deserve those things. 

Yet, the Republican party- bought out by greedy CEOs, billionaires, and lobbyists – have ALWAYS been terrified of that reality. So terrified that instead of facing it, they’ve chosen to lie, scapegoat, and defraud even the folks who elected them assuming we’re all too foolish to see what’s really going on…so let me break it down:

“First, Republicans pass tax handouts for their filthy rich donors, promising a trickle-down miracle that never has and will never happen – from Reaganomics to Trump’s Tax Scam 

“Then, when their tax scam causes the economy to slow and deficits to grow, they refuse to correct their mistake – Instead they blame immigrants, poor folks,  Black folks and brown folks. 

“Next, Republicans pretend to panic and call for devastating cuts to Social Security & Medicare that would force Americans to work longer for less, tear away their hard-earned retirement and end Medicare as we know it  “reduce spending” 

“Then they call for *more* handouts for their billionaire donors and corporate polluters  hoping that you’ll settle for tearing away your poor neighbors’ lifelines to protect your own right to retire in dignity -forcing us to the brink of catastrophic shutdown or debt ceiling crisis until we clean up their mess.

“Then they repeat the cycle – hoping enough of us will forgive or forget their scheme to tear away Medicare and Social Security and believe their lie that they were “only after” food assistance, health care, and housing for poor folks – not your earned benefits – when the truth is that they always were and always will be after it all. 

“As I give this speech, Republicans on the Budget Committee are holding a hearing to establish a Death Panel Commission to gut earned benefits where their chairman called his party’s fight to tear social security “our generation’s World War.” 

“At a time when the majority of Pennsylvanians say they struggle to afford healthcare and half are delaying getting the medical care they need because they can’t afford it, we as Democrats have an obligation to fight to not only protect Social Security and Medicare, but expand them.

“Preserve the retirement age, increase benefits to keep up with inflation, expand medicare to include vision, dental, and hearing, hold big pharma price gougers accountable, and pass medicare for all – that’s how we fulfill our sacred promise and move our country and our economy forward. 

“I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question so we can bring up legislation that reaffirms the House of Representatives’ commitment to protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and I yield back the balance of my time.”

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The plan approved by two-thirds of Republicans and passed in their budget would undermine Americans’ retirement security and force 9.6 million Pennslyvanians to work longer for less.  

End Medicare as we know it:

  • Replace the promise of Medicare with inadequate vouchers to purchase private insurance on the open market, likely resulting in huge out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
  • Delay Medicare eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries under age 65, forcing them to wait five long years, instead of the current two, depriving some of the most medically vulnerable people in America of health care.

Undermine and Slash Social Security (while intentionally vague on details):

  • Raise the retirement age for approximately 257 million people — forcing 77% of Americans to work longer for their hard-earned benefits — with additional future increases likely.
  • Slash benefits by changing the benefit formula that will reduce benefits for most beneficiaries.
  • Undermine Social Security by essentially advocating for privatization with Universal Savings Accounts.
  • Limit and phase out auxiliary benefits, such as additional benefits paid to dependent spouses and children of disabled workers receiving Social Security.

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