Pelosi: Defend Medicare, Social Security

Jan. 6, 2013 at 3:12 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats were ready to defend Social Security and Medicare as the next round of budget debates looms in Congress.

Pelosi said on CBS "Face the Nation" she opposed raising the eligibility age of Medicare or the way Social Security benefits are calculated.

Pelosi said while the cost of social programs needed to be reduced, she had doubts the Republicans were interested in helping the middle class as they were looking for ways to reduce upper-income tax rates or benefit corporate benefactors.

"I really do not think that we should do anything to Social Security that reduces benefits to the beneficiaries," Pelosi told CBS. "I do think there are ways for us to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, but I think ... if you find savings in any initiative on Social Security, it should be poured back into Social Security to prolong its life. It should not be a cash cow to give tax breaks some place in the tax code and say we have to cover it by changing Social Security."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CBS' Pelosi's seeming reluctance to move on the spending issue was disappointing and a reflection of President Obama's inability to face up to the difficult steps needed to save Medicare and other "popular" programs.

"If the president won't lead us here in the direction of reducing this massive spending addiction that we have, then we have to use whatever leverage we have," Pelosi said.

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