Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Thursday emphasized that he’s not going to discuss cutting Social Security and Medicare but suggested that Congress may have to look at whether there is a “better program” to use to make the benefits sustainable for future generations.
“Is there a better program?” Manchin said in an interview with Fox Business. “Is there a better way younger people can invest and have something for retirement? I don’t know.”
“Only thing I’m telling you I’m not going to discuss is cutting Social Security and Medicare for those people that are receiving and have been depending on it, that have worked hard and earned it,” he added. “Now with that, you have to look at everything. How do you sustain what you have?”
Manchin noted that if Congress doesn’t do anything to make the entitlement programs solvent, and they “sit back with our hands in our pockets and say we can’t get involved,” recipients will face automatic cuts.
Social Security is set to start running a shortfall in 2032, which could result in a more than 20 percent reduction in benefits, according to updated estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The Medicare trustees suggested last year that the program’s trust fund will remain solvent through 2028.
Amid Republican efforts to tie spending cuts to an increase in the debt ceiling, there have been some proposals that Social Security and Medicare cuts could be on the table in the future. However, amid swift blowback, GOP lawmakers have largely scrapped any ideas to tie cuts to the debt ceiling negotiations.