House panel advances debt commission without shields for Medicare, Social Security

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The House Budget Committee did not take measures to protect systems like Medicare and Social Security on Thursday, despite advancing legislation to create a bipartisan fiscal commission designed to find a solution to the government’s budget.

The committee approved the bill 22-12, with three Democrats joining Republicans in passing the measure.

The commission would create a report and write legislation aimed at improving the government’s fiscal condition. After the markup, Budget Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is committed to the commission and wants to attach a bill to 2024 fiscal appropriations legislation, Roll Call reported.

“Let’s look at this unfunded liability that’s going to bankrupt the country and let’s come up with a plan that will give our children the same freedom and opportunities we’ve had. OK? That’s why we do this,” Arrington said in his opening remarks. “Is it perfect? No. Is any process perfect? No.”

“And ultimately, Congress is gonna have to make the decision but incentives drive behavior, and we’ve just got such dysfunction here, that if we can turn down the politics, we can just dial it back, put members in a room and pass through a plan and find some consensus and take it to the floor with expedited consideration, just maybe we’ll find the courage to chart a path,” the Texas lawmaker continued.

Democrats are generally opposed to the bill because they see it as a way for funding to be cut for programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Ranking member Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) asked members to vote to increase the money going into Medicare and Society Security so the systems could be funded for the rest of the century.

“We don’t need Republican benefit cuts — we just need the courage to make the wealthy and well-connected pay their fair share,” the House Budget Committee Democrats posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Since the legislation advanced, the commission has a deadline of Dec. 12 to issue a report and propose legislation that each chamber would vote on.

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